John Greenleaf Whittier
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Daniel Wheeler, a minister of the Society of Friends, who had laboured in the cause of his Divine Master in Great Britain, Russia, and the islands of the Pacific, died in New York in the spring of 1840, while on a religious visit to this country. O DEARLY loved! And worthy of our love! No more Thy aged form shall rise before The hushed and waiting worshipper, In meek obedience utterance giving To words of truth, so fresh and living, That, even to the inward sense, They bore unquestioned evidence Of an anointed Messenger! Or, bowing down thy silver hair In reverence awfulness of prayer, The world, its time and sense, shut out, The brightness of Faith's holy trance Gathered upon thy countenance, As if each lingering cloud of doubt, The cold, dark shadows resting here In Time's unluminous atmosphere, Were lifted by an angel's hand, And through them on thy spiritual eye Shone down the blessedness on high, The glory of the Better Land! The oak has fallen! While, meet for no good work, the vine May yet its worthless branches twine, Who knoweth not that with thee fell A great man in our Israel? Fallen, while thy loins were girded still, Thy feel with Zion's dews still wet, And in thy hand retaining yet The pilgrim's staff and scallop-shell! Unharmed and safe, where, wild and free, Across the Neva's cold morass The breezes from the Frozen Sea With winter's arrowy keenness pass; Or where the unwarning tropic gale Smote to the waves thy tattered sail, Or where the noon-hour's fervid heat Against Tahiti's mountains beat; The same mysterious Hand which gave Deliverance upon land and wave, Tempered for thee the blasts which blew Ladaga's frozen surface o'er, And blessed for thee the baleful dew Of evening upon Eimeo's shore, Beneath this sunny heaven of ours, Midst our soft airs and opening flowers Hath given thee a grave! His will be done, Who seeth not as man, whose way Is not as ours! 'T is well with thee! Nor anxious doubt nor dark dismay Disquieted thy closing day, But, evermore, thy soul could say, "My Father careth still for me!" Called from thy hearth and home, - from her, The last dear one to minister In duty and in love to thee, From all which nature holdeth dear, Feeble with years and worn with pain, To seek our distant land again, Bound in the spirit, yet unknowing The things which should befall thee here, Whether for labor or for death, In childlike trust serenely going To that last trial of thy faith! Oh, far away, Where never shines our Northern star On that dark waste which Balboa saw From Darien's mountains stretching far, So strange, heaven-broad, and lone, that there, With forehead to its damp wind bare, He bent his mailed knee in awe; In many as isle whose coral feet The surges of that ocean beat, In thy palm shadows, Oahu, And Honolulu's silver bay, Amidst Owyhee's hills of blue, And taro-plains of Tooboonai, Are gentle hearts, which long shall be Sad as our own at though of thee, Worn sowers of Truth's holy seed, Whose souls in weariness and need Were strengthened and refreshed by thine. For blessed by our Father's hand Was thy deep love and tender care, Thy ministry and fervent prayer, - Grateful as Eshcol's clustered vine To Israel in a weary land! And they who drew By thousands round thee, in the hour Of prayerful waiting, hushed and deep, That He who bade the islands keep Silence before Him, might renew Their strength with His unslumber- ing power, They too shall mourn that thou art gone, That nevermore thy aged lip Shall sooth the weak, the erring warn, Of those who first, rejoicing, heard Through thee the Gospel's glorious word, - Seals of thy true apostleship. And, if the brightest diadem, Whose gems of glory purely burn Around the ransomed ones in bliss, Be evermore reserved for them Who here, through toil and sorrow, turn Many to righteousness, May we not think of thee as wearing That star-like crown of light, and bearing, Amidst Heaven's white and blissful band, Th' unfading palm-branched hand; And joining with a seraph's tongue In that new song the elders sung Ascribing to its blessed Giver Thanksgiving, love, and praise for- ever! Farewell! And though the ways of Zion mourn When her strong ones are called away, Who like thyself have calmly borne the heat and burden of the day, Yet He who slumbereth not nor sleep- eth His ancient watch around us keepeth; Still, sent form His creating hand, New witnesses for Truth shall stand, New instruments to sound abroad The Gospel of a risen Lord; To gather to the fold once more the desolate and gone astray, the scattered of a cloudy day, And Zion's broken walls restore; And, through the travail and the toil Of true obedience, minister Beauty for ashes, and the oil Of joy for mourning, unto her! So shall her holy bounds increase With walls of praise and gates of peace; So shall the Vine, which martyr tears And blood sustained in other years, With fresher life be clothed upon; And to the world in beauty show Like the rose-plant of Jericho, And glorious as Lebanon!