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EASTER DAY IN A MOUNTAIN CHURCHYARD, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: There is a wakening on the mighty hills
Last Line: Lift up glad strains for man by truth divine made free!
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, Felicia Dorothea
Subject(s): Easter; Holidays; The Resurrection


THERE is a wakening on the mighty hills,
A kindling with the spirit of the morn!
Bright gleams are scattered from the thousand rills,
And a soft visionary hue is born
On the young foliage, worn
By all the embosomed woods -- a silvery green,
Made up of spring and dew, harmoniously serene.

And lo! where, floating through a glory, sings
The lark, alone amidst a crystal sky!
Lo! where the darkness of his buoyant wings,
Against a soft and rosy cloud on high,
Trembles with melody!
While the far-echoing solitudes rejoice
To the rich laugh of music in that voice.

But purer light than of the early sun
Is on you cast, O mountains of the earth!
And for your dwellers nobler joy is won
Than the sweet echoes of the skylark's mirth,
By this glad morning's birth!
And gifts more precious by its breath are shed
Than music on the breeze, dew on the violet's head.

Gifts for the soul, from whose illumined eye
O'er nature's face the colouring glory flows;
Gifts from the fount of immortality,
Which, filled with balm, unknown to human woes,
Lay hushed in dark repose,
Till thou, bright dayspring! mad'st its waves our own,
By thine unsealing of the burial-stone.

Sing, then, with all your choral strains, ye hills!
And let a full victorious tone be given,
By rock and cavern, to the wind which fills
Your urn-like depths with sound! The tomb is riven,
The radiant gate of heaven
Unfolded -- and the stern, dark shadow cast
By death's o'ersweeping wing, from the earth's bosom past.

And you, ye graves! upon whose turf I stand,
Girt with the slumber of the hamlet's dead,
Time, with a soft and reconciling hand,
The covering mantle of bright moss hath spread
O'er every narrow bed:
But not by time, and not by nature sown
Was the celestial seed, whence round you peace hath grown.

Christ hath arisen! Oh, not one cherished head
Hath, 'midst the flowery sods, been pillowed here
Without a hope (howe'er the heart hath bled
In its vain yearnings o'er the unconscious bier),
A hope, upspringing clear
From those majestic tidings of the morn,
Which lit the living way to all of woman born.

Thou hast wept mournfully, O human love!
E'en on this greensward: night hath heard thy cry,
Heart - stricken one! thy precious dust above --
Night, and the hills, which sent forth no reply
Unto thine agony!
But He who wept like thee, thy Lord, thy guide,
Christ hath arisen, O love! thy tears shall all be dried.

Dark must have been the gushing of those tears,
Heavy the unsleeping phantom of the tomb
On thine impassioned soul, in elder years,
When, burdened with the mystery of its doom,
Mortality's thick gloom
Hung o'er the sunny world, and with the breath
Of the triumphant rose came blending thoughts of death.

By thee, sad Love! and by thy sister, Fear
Then was the ideal robe of beauty wrought
To veil that haunting shadow, still too near,
Still ruling secretly the conqueror's thought,
And where the board was fraught
With wine and myrtles in the summer bower,
Felt, e'en when disavowed, a presence and a power.

But that dark night is closed: and o'er the dead,
Here, where the gleamy primrose-tufts have blown,
And where the mountain-heath a couch has spread,
And, settling oft on some gray, lettered stone,
The redbreast warbles lone;
And the wild-bee's deep drowsy murmurs pass,
Like a low thrill of harp-strings, through the grass:

Here, 'midst the chambers of the Christian's sleep,
We o'er death's gulf may look with trusting eye;
For Hope sits, dovelike, on the gloomy deep,
And the green hills wherein these valleys lie Seem all one sanctuary
Of holiest thought -- nor needs their fresh, bright sod,
Urn, wreath, or shrine, for tombs all dedicate to God.

Christ hath arisen! O mountain-peaks! attest --
Witness, resounding glen and torrent-wave!
The immortal courage in the human breast
Sprung from that victory -- tell how oft the brave
To camp, 'midst rock and cave,
Nerved by those words, their struggling faith have borne,
Planting the cross on high above the clouds of morn!

The Alps have heard sweet hymnings for to-day --
Ay, and wild sounds of sterner, deeper tone
Have thrilled their pines, when those that knelt to pray
Rose up to arm! The pure, high snows have known
A colouring not their own,
But from true hearts, which, by that crimson stain,
Gave token of a trust that called no suffering vain.

Those days are past -- the mountains wear no more
The solemn splendour of the martyr's blood;
And may that awful record, as of yore,
Never again be known to field or flood!
E'en though the faithful stood,
A noble army, in the exulting sight
Of earth and heaven, which blessed their battle for the right!

But many a martyrdom by hearts unshaken
Is yet borne silently in homes obscure;
And many a bitter cup is meekly taken;
And, for the strength whereby the just and pure
Thus steadfastly endure,
Glory to Him whose victory won that dower!
Him from whose rising streamed that robe of spirit-power.

Glory to Him! Hope to the suffering breast!
Light to the nations! He hath rolled away
The mists which, gathering into deathlike rest,
Between the soul and heaven's calm ether lay --
His love hath made it day
With those that sat in darkness. Earth and sea!
Lift up glad strains for man by truth Divine made free!





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