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THE COMMON LOT.
ONCE in the flight of ages past,
The weeping minstrel sings,
And, while her numbers flow, My spirit trembles with the strings,
Responsive to the notes of wo. Would gladness move a sprightlier strain,
And wake his wild harp's clearest tones, The chords, impatient to complain,
Are dumb, or only utter moans.
With luxury of grief,
In sorrow's music feels relief.
That joy and grief, and hope and fear,
The bounding pulse, the languid limb,
He suffer'd, but his pangs are o'er;
He loved,--but whom he loved, the grave
Thus o'er the light Æolian lyre
The winds of dark November stray, Touch the quick nerve of every wire,
And on its magic pulses play; Till all the air around
Mysterious murmurs fill, A strange bewildering dream of sound, Most heavenly sweet,-yet mournful still
. 0! snatch the harp from Sorrow's hand,
Hope! who hast been a stranger long; O! strike it with sublime command,
And be the poet's life thy song.
Of fears for ever fled,
And burst and blossom from the dead:
Serene delights, while years increase ; And weary life's triumphant close
In some calm sunset hour of peace ;
He saw whatever thou hast seen ; Encounter'd all that troubles thee; He was-whatever thou hast been ; He is what thou shalt be.
The rolling seasons, day and night,
The clouds and sunbeams, o'er his eye
Of bliss that reigns above,
Celestial May of youth, Unchanging as Jehovah's love,
And everlasting as his truth: Sing, heavenly Hope !--and dart thine hand
O’er my frail harp, untuned so long; That harp shall breathe, at thy command,
Immortal sweetness through thy song. Ah! then, this gloom control,
And at thy voice shall start A new creation in my soul,
A native Eden in my heart.
THE HARP OF SORROW.
I GAVE my harp to Sorrow's hand,
And she has ruled the chords so long, They will not speak at my command ;-
They warble only to her song. Of dear, departed hours,
Too fondly loved to last, The dew, the breath, the bloom of flowers,
Snapt in their freshness by the blast: Of long, long years of future care,
Till lingering nature yields her breath, And endless ages of Jespair,
Beyond the judgment-day of death:-
Verses written for an urn, made out of the trunk of the
weeping willow, imporied from the East, and planted by Pope in his grounds at Twickenham, where it flourished many years; but, falling into decay, it was lately cut down.
Ere Pope resign'd his tuneful breath,
And made the turf his pillow, The minstrel hung his harp in death
Upon the drooping willow;
That willow from Euphrates' strand, Had sprung beneath his training hand. Long as revolving seasons flew,
From youth to age it flourishd; By vernal winds and starlight dew,
By showers and sunbeams nourish'd ; And while in dust the poet slept, The willow o'er his ashes wept.
Old Time beheld his silvery head
With graceful grandeur towering, Its pensile boughs profusely spread,
The breezy lawn embowering, Till arch'd around, there seem'd to shoot A grove of scions from one root. Thither, at summer noon, he view'd
The lovely Nine retreating, Beneath its twilight solitude
With songs their poet greeting. Whose spirit in the willow spoke, Like Jove's from dark Dodona's oak.
Among thy loftiest laurels seen,
The storm of ages braving,
Its verdant banner waving,
--Gone down in all thy glory;
To sing thy simple story;
Such power of song were given,
And call down fire from heaven,
THE SWISS COWHERD'S SONG IN A
IMITATED FROM THE FRENCH.
0, WHEN shall I visit the land of my birth,
Our forests, our fountains,
Our hamlets, our mountains, With the pride of our mountains, the maid I adore ? 0, when shall I dance on the daisy-white mead, In the shade of an elm, to the sound of the reed? When shall I return to that lowly retreat, Where all my fond objects of tenderness meet,The lambs and the heifers that follow my call,
My father, my mother,
My sister, my brother, And dear Isabella, the joy of them all ? 0, when shall I visit the land of my birth? —'Tis the loveliest land on the face of the earth.
Deep to the willow's root it went,
And cleft the core asunder, Like sudden secret lightning, sent
Without recording thunder: --From that sad moment, slow away Began the willow to decay. In vain did spring those bowers restore,
Where loves and graces revellid, Autumn's wild gales the branches tore,
The thin gray leaves dishevell’d, And every wasting winter found The willow nearer to the ground.
Hoary, and weak, and bent with age,
At length the axe assail'd it:
--The swans of Thames bewail'd it, With softer tones, with sweeter breath, Than ever charm'd the ear of death.
This shadow on the dial's face,
That steals from day to day, With slow, unseen, unceasing pace,
Moments, and months, and years away ; This shadow, which, in every clime,
Since light and motion first began,
What is it?-Mortal man!
Yet, in its calm career,
And still, through each succeeding year
O Pope! hadst thou, whose lyre so long
The wondering world enchanted, Amidst thy paradise of song
This weeping willow planted ;
Nor only o'er the dial's face,
Ten thousand voices answer, “ No!” This silent phantom, day by day,
Ye clasp your babes and kiss; With slow, unseen, unceasing pace,
Your bosoms yearn, your eyes o’erflow; Steals moments, months, and years away ;
Yet, ah! remember this; From hoary rock and aged tree,
The infant, rear'd alone for earth,
-Is this a mother's love?
A parent's heart may prove a snare;
The child she loves so well,
Her hand may lead, with gentlest care,
Down the smooth road to hell;
Nourish its frame,-destroy its mind:
Thus do the blind mislead the blind,
Even with a mother's love.
Blest infant! whom his mother taught
Early to seek the Lord, His scythe, a trophy, o'er my tomb,
And pour'd upon his dawning thought Whose moving shadow shall portend
The day-spring of the word;
This was the lesson to her son,
— Time is eternity begun:
Behold that mother's love.*
Blest mother! who, in wisdom's path,
By her own parent trod,
And know the fear of God:
Ah! youth, like him enjoy your prime,
Begin eternity in time,
Taught by that mother's love. What is a mother's love?
That mother's love !-how sweet the name! --A noble, pure, and tender flame,
What was that mother's love? Enkindled from above,
- The noblest, purest, tenderest flame, To bless a heart of earthly mould;
That kindles from above The warmest love that can grow cold;
Within a heart of earthly mould, This is a mother's love.
As much of heaven as heart can hold, To bring a helpless babe to light,
Nor through eternity grows cold:
This was that mother's love.
And feel herself new-born,
The male of this insect is said to be a fly, which the female Its weakness in her arms to bear;
caterpillar attracts in the night by the lustre of her train. To cherish on her breast, Feed it from love's own fountain there,
When evening closes nature's eye, And lull it there to rest;
The glow-worm lights her little spark, Then while it slumbers watch its breath,
To captivate her favourite fiy,
And tempt the rover through the dark.
Conducted by a sweeter star
Than all that deck the fields above,
He fondly hastens from afar,
To soothe her solitude with love. of intellectual fire; To smile and listen while it talks,
Thus in this wilderness of tears, And lend a finger when it walks ;
Amidst the world's perplexing gloom, This is a mother's love.
The transient torch of Hymen cheers And can a mother's love grow cold ?
The pilgrim journeying to the tomb. Can she forget her boy?
Unhappy he whose hopeless eye His pleading innocence behold,
Turns to the light of love in vain; Nor weep for grief-for joy!
Whose cynosure is in the sky,
He on the dark and lonely main.
* 2 Tim. i. 5, and iii. 14, 15.
Job xiv. How few and evil are thy days, Man, of a woman born! Trouble and peril haunt thy ways: -Forth like a flower at morn, The tender infant springs to light, Youth blossoms with the breeze, Age, withering age, is cropt ere night; -Man like a shadow flees.
THRICE welcome, little English flower!
And dost Thou look on such a one?
Thrice welcome, little English flower,
Man lieth down, no more to wake,
Thrice welcome, little English flower!
The fairy sports of infancy,
Wine, oil, refreshment; he was beal'd;
THE STRANGER AND HIS FRIEND.
VIA CRUCIS, VIA LUCIS.
“Ye have done it unto me.”-Matt. XXV. 40.
Night turns to day :
When sullen darkness lowers,
With dewy eyes, shall shine in light.
When over land and ocean
Proclaims tranquillity behind.
When icy blasts are blowing
May floats in fragrance on the breeze.
Though dread artillery rattle,
A poor wayfaring man of grief
Toil brings repose :
With noontide fervours beating,
Death springs to life:
Though brief and sad thy story,