DOWN, down, o'er rocky ledge, the chamois hunter fell,

Till shelving of a fissure chanced his feet to stay.

Far, far above him rose the white-capped, Alpine heights;

A precipice below. Above, the mountain goat

With flying feet mocked his despair. The eternal snows,

Gleaming in sunshine, winged no prayer to heaven

On airy flight or icy spire, but shimmered down

Its glory to the depths below, lighting his tomb.

The weary day was folded in its stern repose

By dreary curtains of the night. The burning eyes

Of myriad stars looked down, the while o'er cloud-flecked blue

The moon trailed silver robes. Oh, solitude so grand!

Thy speech too deep for human words! Silence, whose hush

Startles to fear at distant roar of glacier's sweep,

Then vast, profound, as o'er creation's morn held sway.

At last the awful hours sped by, and daylight dawned;

And looking up to greet the light, he saw a flower—

A little blue-fringed gentian—growing in the rock.

Borne by the careless wind, the seed had fallen there

In crevice bare; now for him smiled its lovely bloom.

"Promise of good! Shall God," thought he,

"Care for the flower and not for me?"

And lifting up his voice, there rang

O'er cliff and mountain glade:

"God is our refuge and our strength,

In straits a present aid."

Higher than Alpine crags the echoes of that song

Moved on and on, until they reached a human ear.

Or did an angel, listening, swiftly bear the need

To Him who hears our lowliest cry of faith and trust'?

Ah, who may know? But answering shouts rolled down and down,

Until the hymn, so like a wailing prayer begun,

Rose like a mighty chorus to the sky again.

How cruel seemed thy fate, O flower of Alpine vale,

To find a barren rock whereon to rest!

And yet thy blue-fringed petals wept glad tears of joy,

When, folded to a loving mother's breast,

The mission of thy life was told, that saved her boy.

And like a precious treasure, to this day,

In sacred Bible lid thou 'rt hid away!




Christian Weekly