St. Paul at Melita--Vexations


"And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat."

Secure in his prophetic strength.

The water peril o'er,
The many-gifted man at length

Stepp'd on the promised shore.

He trod the shore ; but not to rest,

Nor wait till Angels came;
Lo! humblest pains the Saint attest,

The firebrands and the flame.

But, when he felt the viper's smart,

Then instant aid was given; Christian ! hence learn to do thy part,

And leave the rest to Heaven.

Messina. February 8, 1833


When Heaven sends sorrow,
Warnings go first,
Lest it should burst
With stunning might
On souls too bright

To fear the morrow.

Can science bear us

To the hid springs
Of human things?
Why may not dream,
Or thought's day-gleam,
Startle, yet cheer us?

Are such thoughts fetters,

While Faith disowns
Dread of earth's tones,
Recks but Heaven's call,
And on the wall

Reads but Heaven's letters?

Between Calatafimi and Palermo.

February 12, 1833.


Oh! miserable power To dreams allow'd, to raise the guilty past, And back awhile the illumined spirit to cast

On its youth's twilight hour; In mockery guiling it to act again The revel or the scoff in Satan's frantic train!

Nay, hush thee, angry heart! An Angel's grief ill fits a penitent; Welcome the thorn—it is divinely sent,

And with its wholesome smart

Shall pierce thee in thy virtue's palmy home, And warn thee what thou art, and whence thy wealth has come.

Pastum. February 26,


O Holy Lord, who with the Children Three

Didst walk the piercing flame, Help, in those trial-hours, which, save to Thee,

I dare not name; Nor let these quivering eyes and sickening

heart Crumble to dust beneath the Tempter's dart.

Thou, who didst once Thy life from Mary's breast

Renew from day to day, Oh, might Thy smile, severely sweet, but rest

On this frail clay!

Till I am Thine with my whole soul; and fear, Not feel a secret joy, that Hell is near.

Frascati. March 28,


"What I do, thou knowest not now ; but thou shalt know hereafter."

Did we but see,

When life first open'd, how our journey lay Between its earliest and its closing day,

Or view ourselves, as we one time shall be, Who strive for the high prize, such sight

would break

The youthful spirit, though bold for Jesu's sake.

But Thou, dear Lord! Whilst I traced out bright scenes which were

to come,

Isaac's pure blessings, and a verdant home, Didst spare me, and withhold Thy fearful


Wiling me year by year, till I am found
A pilgrim pale, with Paul's sad girdle bound.

Tre Fontane. April 2,


'MiD Balak's magic fires
The Spirit spake, clear as in Israel;
With prayers untrue and covetous desires

Did God vouchsafe to dwell;
Who summon'd dreams, His earlier word to

bringTo patient Job's vex'd friends, and Gerar's guileless king.

If such o'erflowing grace From Aaron's vest e'en on the Sibyl ran, Why should we fear, the Son now lacks His


Where roams unchristen'd man? As though, where faith is keen, He cannot


Bread of the very stones, or thirst with ashes slake.

Messina. 'April 21,


"And Jacob went on his way, and the Angels of God met him."

Say, hast thou track'd a traveller's round,

Nor visions met thee there,
Thou couldst but marvel to have found

This blighted world so fair?

And feel an awe within thee rise,

That sinful man should see Glories far worthier Seraph's eyes

Than to be shared by thee?

Store them in heart! thou shalt not faint

'Mid coming pains and fears,
As the third heaven once nerved a Saint

For fourteen trial-years.

Magnisi. April 26, 1833.


Souls of the Just, I call not you
To share this joy with me,

This joy and wonder at the view
Of mountain, plain, and sea;

Ye, on that loftier mountain old,
Safe lodged in Eden's cell,

Whence run the rivers four, behold
This earth, as ere it fell.

Or, when ye think of those who stay
Still tried by the world's fight,

'Tis but in looking for the day
Which shall the lost unite.

Ye rather, elder Spirits strong!
Who from the first have trod

This nether scene, man's race among
The while you live to God,

Ye see, and ye can sympathize—
Vain thought! their mighty ken

Fills height and depth, the stars, the skies,
They smile at dim-eyed men.

Ah, Saviour! I perforce am thine,

Angel and Saint apart:
Those searching Eyes are all-divine

All-human is that Heart.

Agosta. April 29, 1833.


"He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto Him."

"The Fathers are in dus', yet live to God :" So says the Truth: as if the motionless clay Still held the seeds of life beneath the sod, Smouldering and struggling till the judgmentday.

And hence we learn with reverence to esteem Of these frail houses, though the grave confines;

Sophist may urge his cunnin j tests, and deem That they are earth ;—but they are heavenly shrines.

Palermo. June r, 1833.


"And he said, It is finished."

One only, of God's messengers to man, Finish'd the work of grace, which He began; E'en Moses wearied upon Nebo's height,

Though loth to leave the fight With the doom'd foe, and yield the sun-bright land

To Joshua's arm£d hand.

And David wrought in turn a strenuous part, Zeal for God's house consuming him in heart; And yet he might not build, but only bring

Gifts for the Heavenly King;
And these another rear'd, his peaceful son,

Till the full work was done.

List, Christian warrior! thou, whose soul is


To rid thy Mother of her present chain ;— Christ will avenge His Bride; yea, even now

Begins the work, and thou Shalt spend in it thy strength, but, ere He


Thy lot shall be the grave. Palermo. June 2, 1833.


"Freely ye have received; freely give."

'' Give any boon for peace! Why should our fair-eyed Mother e'er engage In the world's course and on a troubled stage, From which her very call is a release?

No ! in thy garden stand,

And tend with pious hand

The flowers tnou piantest there,

Which are thy proper care,
O man of God ! in meekness and in love,
And waiting for the blissful realms above.''

Alas ! for thou must learn, Thou guileless one! rough is the holy hand; Runs not the Word of Truth through every

land, A sword to sever, and a fire to burn?

If blessed Paul had stay'd

In cot or learned shade,

With the priest's white attire,

And the Saints' tuneful choir, Men had not gnash'd their teeth, nor risen to

slay, But thou hadst been a heathen in thy day.

Palermo. June 3, 1833.


The Church shone brightly in her youthful days,

Ere the world on her smiled; So now, an outcast, she would pour her rays

Keen, free, and undefiled: Yet would I not that arm offerce were mine, Which thrusts her from her awful ancient shrine.

'Twas duty bound each convert-king to rear

His Mother from the dust, And pious was it to enrich, nor fear

Christ for the rest to trust; And who shall dare make common or unclean What once has on the Holy Altar been?

Dear brothers I—hence, while ye for ill prepare,

Triumph is still your own; Blest is a pilgrim Church !—yet shrink to share

The curse of throwing down.

So will we toil in our old place to stand, Watching, not dreading, the despoiler's hand.

Palermo. June 4,


"Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan."

Ye cannot halve the Gospel of God's grace; Men of presumptuous heart! I know you

well. Ye are of those who plan that we should


Each in his tranquil home and holy place; Seeing the Word refines all natures rude, And tames the stirrings of the multitude.

And ye have caught some echoes of its lore, As heralded amid the joyous choirs;

Ye mark'd it spoke of peace, chastised desires, Good-will and mercy,—and ye heaid no


But, as for zeal and quick-eyed sanctity,
And the dread depths of grace, ye pass'd them


And so ye have the Truth; for ye in heart, At best, are doubters whether it be true, The theme discarding, as unmeet for you, Statesmen or Sages. O new-compass'd art Of the ancient Foe !—but what, if it extends O'er our own camp, and rules amid our friends?

Palermo. June 5,


When I am sad, I say,

'' What boots it me to strive, And vex my spirit day by day,

Dead memories to revive?

"Alas ! what good will come,
Though we our prayer obtain,

To bring old times triumphant home,
And wandering flocks regain?

"Would not our history run

In the same weary round,
And service in meek faith begun,

At length in forms be bound?

'' Union would give us strength— That strength the earth subdue;

And then comes wealth, and pride at length, And sloth, and prayers untrue."

Nay, this is worldly-wise;

To reason is a crime,
Since the Lord bade His Church arise,

In the dark ancient time.

He wills that she should shine;

So we her flame must trim Around His soul-converting Sign,

And leave the rest to Him.

Palermo. June 6, 1833. THE AGE TO COME.

When I would search the truths that in me


And mould them into rule and argument,
A hundred reasoners cried,—" Hast thou to

learn Those dreams are scatter'd now, those fires

are spent?" And, did I mount to simpler thoughts, and


Some theme of peace, 'twas still the same reply.

Perplex'd, I hoped my heart was pure of guile,
But judged me weak in wit, to disagree;
But now I see that men are mad awhile,
And joy the Age to come will think with

me :—

Tis the old history—Truth without a home, Despised and slain, then rising from the


Palermo. June g,


When first earth's rulers welcomed home
The Church, their zeal impress'd

Upon the seasons, as they come.
The image of their guest.

Men's words and works, their hopes and fears,

Henceforth forbid to sove,
Paused, when a Martyr claim'd her tears,

Or Saint inspired her love.

But craving wealth, and feverish power,

Such service now discard; The loss of one excited hour

A sacrifice too hard!

And e'en about the holiest day,

God's own in every time, They doubt and search, lest aught should stay

A cataract of crime.

Where shall this cease? must crosiers fell,

Shrines suffer touch profane,
Till, cast without His vineyard wall,

The Heaven-sent Heir is slain?

Palermo. June n, 1833.


Peace-loving man, of humble heart and true!

What dost thou here?
Fierce is the city's crowd : the lordly few

Are dull of ear!

Sore pain it was to thee,—till thou didst quit Thy patriarch-throne at length, as though for power unfit.

So works the All-wise! our services dividing

Not as we ask: For the world's profit, by our gifts deciding

Our duty-task.

See in king's courts loth Jeremias plead; And slow-tongued Moses rule by eloquence of deed!

Yes! thou, bright Angel of the East! didst rear

The Cross divine, Borne high upon thy liquid accents, where

Men mock'd the Sign; Till that cold city heard thy battle-cry, And hearts were stirr'd, and deem'd a Pentecost was nigh.

Thou couldst a people raise, but couldst not rule :—

'So, gentle one,

Heaven set thee free,—for, ere thy years were full,

Thy work was done; According thee the lot thou lovedst best, To muse upon the past, —to serve, yet be at rest.

Palermo. June is, 1833.



I Bow at Jesu's name, for 'tis the Sign
Of awful mercy towards a guilty line.
Of shameful ancestry, in birth defiled,

And upwards from a child
Full of anlovely thoughts and rebel aims

And scorn of judgment-flames,
How without fear can I behold my Life.
The Just assailing sin, and death-stain'd in
the strife?

And so, albeit His woe is our release, Thought of that woe aye dims our earthly

peace; The Life is hidden in a Fount of Blood!

And this is tidings good For souls, who, pierced that they have caused

that woe,

Are fain to share it too: But for the many, clinging to their lot Ofwordly ease an 1 sloth, 'tis written, "Touch

Me not."

Off Monte Pellegrino. June 14, 1833.

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,

Lead Thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from 'home—

Lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet; 1 do not ask to see
The distant scene,—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou

Shouldst lead me on; I loved to choose and see my path, but now

Lead Thou me on!

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still

Will lead me on, O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone;

And with the morn those angel faces smile Which I have loved long since, and lost

awhile. At Sea. June 76, 1833.


O Rail not at our kindred in the North,
Albeit Samaria finds her likeness there;
A self-formed Priesthood, and the Church cast

To the chill mountain air.

What, though their fathers sinned, and lost the grace

Which seals the Holy Apostolic Line?

Christ's love o'erflows the bounds His Prophets trace In His reveal'd design.

Israel had Seers; to them the Word is nigh; Shall not that Word run forth, and gladness


To many a Shunammite, till in His eye
The full Seven-thousand live?

Off Sardinia. June if, 1833.


"But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish, from the presence of the Lord."

Deep in his meditative bower,

The tranquil seer reclined; Numbering the creepers of an hour,

The gourds which o'er him twined.

To note each plant, to rear each fruit
Which soothes the languid sense,

He deem'd a safe, refined pursuit,—
His Lord, an indolence.

The sudden voice was heard at length,

'' Lift thou the prophet's rod!" But sloth had sapp'd the prophet's strength,

He fear'd, and fled from God.

Next, by a fearful judgment tamed,

He threats the offending race; God spares ;—he murmurs, pride-inflamed,

His threat made void by grace.

What ?—pride and sloth ! man's worst of foes I

And can such guests invade
Our choicest bliss, the green repose

Of the sweet garden-shade?

Off Sardinia. June 18,


"As it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be also in the day of the Son of Man."

The world has cycles in its course, when all
That once has been, is acted o'er again :—
Not by some fated law, which need appal
Our faith, or binds our deeds as with a chain;
But by men's separate sins, which blended still
The same bad round fulfil.

Then fear ye not, though Gallio's scorn ye see,
And soft-clad nobles count you mad, true

hearts! These are the fig-tree's signs ;—rough deeds

must be,

Trials and crimes : so learn ye well your parts.

Once more to plough the earth it is decreed,

And scatter wide the seed.

Off Sardinia. June 18, 1833. DESOLATION.

O, Say not thou art left of God,

Because His tokens in the sky
Thou canst not read : this earth He trod

To teach thee He was ever nigh.

He sees, beneath the fig-tree green,

Nathaniel con His sacred lore; Shouldst thou thy chamber seek, unseen,

He enters through the unopen'd door.

And when thou liest, by slumber bound,
Outwearied in the Christian fight,

In glory, girt with Saints around,

He stands above thee through the night.

When friends to Emmaus bend their course,
He joins, although He holds their eyes:

Or, shouldst thou feel some fever's force,
He takes thy hand, He bids thee rise.

Or on a voyage, when calms prevail,

And prison thee upon the sea,
He walks the wave, He wings the sail,

The shore is gained, and thou art free.

Off Sardinia. June 18, 1833.

"I, Paul, the prisoner of the Lord."

O Comrade bold of toil and pain!

Thy trial how severe,
When sever'd first by prisoner's chain

From thy loved labor-sphere!

Say, did impatience first impel

The heaven-sent bond to break?
Or, couldst thou bear its hindrance well,
Loitering for Jesu'ssake?

Oh, might we know ! for sore we feel

The languor of delay,
When sickness lets our fainter zeal,

Or foes block up our way.

Lord ! who Thy thousand years dost wait

To work the thousandth part Of Thy vast plan, for us create

With zeal a patient heart.

Off Sardinia. 'jfune ig,


"Am I my brother's keeper?"

The time has been, it seem'd a precept plain Of the true faith, Christ's tokens to display; And in life's commerce still the thought retain, That men have souls, and wait a judgmentday;

Kings used their gifts as ministers of heaven. Nor stripp'd their zeal for God of means which God had given.

'Tis alter'd now ;—for Adam's eldest born
Has train'd our practice in a selfish rule,
Each stands alone, Christ's bonds asunder

torn; Each has his private thought, selects his


Conceals his creed, and lives in clossst tie Of fellowship with those who count it blasphemy.

Brothers! spare reasoning ;—men have settled long

That ye are out of date, and they are wise;

Use their own weapons; let your words be strong,

Your cry be loud, till each scared boaster flies;

Thus the Apostles tamed the pagan breast,

They argued not, but preach'd; and conscience did the rest.

Off Sardinia. June It), 1833.


I Dream'd that, with a passionate complaint, I wish'd me born amid God's deeds of might; And envied those who had the presence bright Of gifted Prophet and strong-hearted Saint, Whom my heart loves, and Fancy strives to

paint. I turn'd, when straight a stranger met my


Came as my guest, and did awhile unite
His lot with mine, and lived without restraint.
Courteous he was, and grave,—so meek in


It seem'd untrue, or told a purpose weak; Yet, in the mood, he could with aptness


Or with stern force, or show of feelings keen, Marking deep craft, methought, or hidden

pride:— Then came a voice,—" St. Paul is at thy

side." Off Sardinia. June 20, 1833.


Prune thou thy words, the thoughts control
That o:er thee swell and throng;

They will condense within thy soul,
And change to purpose strong.

But he who lets his feelings run

In soft luxurious flow,
Shrinks when hard service must be done,

And faints at every woe.

Faith's meanest deed more favor bears,
Where hearts and wills are weighed,

Than brightest transports, choicest prayers,
Which bloom their hour and fade.

Off Sardinia. June 20, 1833.


Christ bade His followers take the sword;

And yet He chid the deed, When Peter seized upon His word,

And made a foe to bleed.

The gospel Creed, a sword of strife,

Meek hands alone may rear; And ever Zeal begins its life

In silent thought and fear.

Ye, who would weed the Vineyard's soil,

Treasure the lesson given;
Lest in the judgment-books ye toil

For Satan, not for heaven.

Off Sardinia. June 2o,


Each trial has its weight ; which, whoso bears Knows his own woe, and need of succoring

grace; The martyr's hope half wipes away the trace Of flowing blood; the while life's humblest

cares Smart more, because they hold in Holy Writ

no place.

This be my comfort, in these days of grief,
Which is not Christ's, nor forms heroic tale.
Apart from Him, if not a sparrow fail,
May not He pitying view, and send relief
When foes or friends perplex, and peevish
thoughts prevail?

Then keep good heart, nor take the niggard

course Of Thomas, who must see ere he would trust. Faith will fill up God's word, not poorly just To the bare letter, heedless of its force, But walking by its light amid earth's sun and


Off Sardinia. June 21, 1833.