"Their souls shall reach the Sabbath of the skies;-- / As birds, from bleak Norwegia's wintry coast / Blown out to sea, strive to regain the shore, / But, vainly striving; yield them to the blast,-- / Swept o'er the deep to Albion's genial isle, / Amazed they light amid the bloomy sprays / Of some green vale, there to enjoy new loves, / And join in harmony unheard before."
— Graham, James (1765-1811)
And iron-visor'd windows;--even there
The Sabbath sheds a beam of bliss, tho' faint;
The debtor's friends (for still he has some friends)
Have time to visit him; the blossoming pea,
That climbs the rust-worn bars, seems fresher tinged;
And on the little turf, this day renewed,
The lark, his prison mate, quivers the wing
With more than wonted joy. See, through the bars,
That pallid face retreating from the view,
That glittering eye following, with hopeless look,
The friends of former years, now passing by
In peaceful fellowship to worship God:
With them, in days of youthful years, he roamed
O'er hill and dale, o'er broomy knowe; and wist
As little as the blythest of the band
Of this his lot; condemned, condemned unheard,
The party for his judge:--among the throng,
The Pharisaical hard-hearted man
He sees pass on, to join the heaven-taught prayer,
Forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors:
From unforgiving lips most impious prayer!
O happier far the victim, than the hand
That deals the legal stab! The injured man
Enjoys internal, settled calm; to him
The Sabbath bell sounds peace; he loves to meet
His fellow-sufferers, to pray and praise:
And many a prayer, as pure as e'er was breathed
In holy fanes, is sighed in prison halls.
Ah me! that clank of chains, as kneel and rise
The death-doomed row. But see, a smile illumes
The face of some; perhaps they're guiltless: Oh!
And must high-minded honesty endure
The ignominy of a felon's fate!
No, 'tis not ignominious to be wronged;
No;--conscious exultation swells their hearts,
To think the day draws nigh, when in the view
Of angels, and of just men perfect made,
The mark which rashness branded on their names
Shall be effaced;--when, wafted on life's storm,
Their souls shall reach the Sabbath of the skies;--
As birds, from bleak Norwegia's wintry coast
Blown out to sea, strive to regain the shore,
But, vainly striving; yield them to the blast,--
Swept o'er the deep to Albion's genial isle,
Amazed they light amid the bloomy sprays
Of some green vale, there to enjoy new loves,
And join in harmony unheard before.