ALEXANDER SELKIRK'S DREAM
COMPOSED ONE DAY WHEN CONFINED TO BED BY A COLD
AND UNABLE TO READ
O'ER the isle of Juan Fernandez
Cooling shades of evening spread,
While upon the peaks of Andes
Still the tints of day were shed.
From the sea-beat shore returning
Homeward hied the lonely man,
O'er his cheerless fortune mourning,
As through past days memory ran.
Soon his brief repast was ended
And he sought his lowly bed;
Balmy slumber there descended,
Shedding influence o'er his head.
Then a vision full of gladness
Came, sent forth by Him supreme,
Who his suffering servants' sadness
Oft dispelleth in a dream.
In his view the lively dream sets
Hills and vales in verdure bright;
Where the gaily-prattling streamlets
Sparkle in the morning-light.
Hark! the holy bell is swinging,
Calling to the house of prayer;
Loud resounds the solemn ringing
Through the still and balmy air.
Youths and maids from glen and mountain
Hasten at the hallowed sound,
Old men rest by shady fountain,
Children lay them on the ground.
Now the pious throng is streaming
Through the temple's portal low;
Rapture in each face is beaming
Pure devotion's genuine glow.
Fervently the hoary pastor,
Humbly bent before his God,
Supplicates their heavenly Master
Them to lead on Sion's road;
Owns that all have widely erred
From the true, the narrow way,
That with Him we have no merit,
And no claim of right can lay.
Loud then rise in choral measure
Hymns of gratitude and praise,
As, inspired with solemn pleasure,
Unto Heaven their strains they raise.
Now the grave discourse beginneth,
Which, ungraced by rhetoric's arts,
Quick the rapt attention winneth,
While it glorious truths imparts;
While it tells how kind is Heaven
To the race of him who fell;
How of old the Son was given
To redeem from pains of hell;
How the Holy Spirit abideth
In their hearts that hear his call;
How our God for all provideth,
How His mercy's over all;
How, beyond the grave extending,
Regions lie of endless bliss;
How our thoughts on that world bending,
We should careless be of this.
Once again the raised hymn pealeth
Notes of joy and jubilee,
Praising Him who truth revealeth,
Dweller of Eternity!
Night's dim shades were now retreating,
Over Andes rose the day
On the hills the kids' loud bleating
Lingering slumber chased away.
Birds their merry notes were singing,
Joyous at the approach of morn--
Morn that, light and fragrance flinging,
Earth doth cherish and adorn.
Waked by Nature's general chorus
Selkirk quits his lonely couch,
While o'er heaven run colours glorious,
Heralding the sun's approach.
Still the vision hovers o'er him,
Still the heavenly strains he hears,
Setting those bright realms before him
Where are wiped away all tears.
All this vain and transitory
State of mankind here on earth,
Weighed with that exceeding glory,
Now he deems as nothing worth.
Low he bends in adoration,
As the sun ascends the sky;
Doubt and fear and lamentation
With the night's last shadows fly.