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Its heart beats on-though hearts are gone
That warmer beat and younger :
Its hands still move-though hands we love
Are clasp'd on earth no longer !
“ Tick, tick," it said " to the churchyard bed,
The grave hath given warning-
Up, up and rise, and look to the skies,
And prepare for a heavenly morning !"
ON THE DEATH OF A CHILD.
By J. R. LOWELL, an American poet. How peacefully they rest, Crossfolded there Upon his little breast, Those small, white hands, that ne'er were still before, But ever sported with his mother's hair, Or the plain cross that on her breast she wore! Her heart no more will beat To feel the touch of that soft palm, That ever seem'd a new surprise, Sending glad thoughts up to her eyes To bless him with their holy calm Sweet thoughts ! they made her eyes as sweet.
How quiet are the hands
That wove those pleasant bands !
But that they do not rise and sink
With his calm breathing, I should think
That he were dropp'd asleep:
Alas! too deep, too deep
Is this his slumber;
Time scarce can number
The years ere he will wake agen-
O may we see his eyelids open then!
O stern word-nevermore!
He did but float a little way
Adown the stream of time
With dreamy eyes watching the ripples' play,
Or listening to their fairy chime;
His slender sail
Ne'er felt the gale;
He did but float a little way,
And putting to the shore,
While yet 'twas early day,
Went calmly on his way,
To dwell with us no more!
Full short his journey was; no dust
Of earth unto his sandals clave,
The weary weight that old men must,
He bore not to the grave.
He seem'd a cherub who had lost his way,
And wander'd hither; so his stay
With us was short, and 'twas most meet
That he should be no delver in earth's clod,
Nor need to pause and cleanse his feet
To stand before his God:
O blest word-evermore!
THE LADDER OF ST. AUGUSTINE,
We have not wings—we cannot soar;
But we have feet to scale and climb,
By slow degrees, by more and more,
The cloudy summits of our time.
The mighty pyramids of stone
That wedge-like cleave the desert airs, When nearer seen, and better known,
Are but gigantic flights of stairs. The distant mountains that uprear
Their frowning foreheads to the skies, Are cross'd by pathways that appear
As we to bigher levels rise.
The heights by great men reach'd and kept,
Were not attain'd by sudden flight; But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
One of COLERIDGE's first compositions.
Late, late yestreen I saw the new moon,
With the old moon in her arms;
And I fear, I fear, my Master dear!
We shall have a deadly storm.
BALLAD OF SIR PATRICK SPENCE.
WELL! If the bard was weather-wise, who made
The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence,
This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence
Unroused by winds, that ply a busier trade
Than those which mould yon cloud in lazy flakes,
Or the dull sobbing draft, that moans and rakes
Upon the strings of this Æolian lute,
Which better far were mute.
For lo! the new moon winter-bright!
And overspread with phantom light,
(With swimming phantom light o'erspread
But rimmed and circled by a silver thread)
I see the old moon in her lap, foretelling
The coming on of rain and squally blast.
And oh! that even now the gust were swelling,
And the slant night-shower driving loud and fast ! Those sounds which oft have raised me, whilst they awed,
And sent my soul abroad, Might now perhaps their wonted impulse give, Might startle this dull pain, and make it move and live!
A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear,
A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,
Which finds no natural outlet, no relief,
In word, or sigh, or tear-
O Lady! in this wan and heartless mood,
To other thoughts by yonder throstle woord,
All this long eve, so balmy and serene,
Have I been gazing on the western sky,
And its peculiar tint of yellow green:
And still I gaze--and with how blank an eve!
And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars,
That give away their motion to the stars ;
Those stars, that glide behind them or between,
Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen :
Yon crescent moon as fixed as if it grew
In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue ;
I see them all so excellently fair,
I see, not feel how beautiful they are !
My genial spirits fail,
And what can these avail To lift the smothering weight from off my breast ?
It were a vain endeavour,
Though I should gaze for ever
On that green light that lingers in the west:
I may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.
O Lady! we receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does nature live :
Ours is her wedding.garment, ours her shroud !
And would we aught behold of higher worth,
Than that inanimate cold world allow'd
To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd,
Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth,
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
Enveloping the earth-
And from the soul itself must there be sent
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
Of all sweet sounds the life and element !
O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of me
What this strong music in the soul may be!
What, and wherein it doth exist,
This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
This beautiful and beauty-making power.
Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given,
Save to the pure, and in their purest hour,
Life, and life's effuence, cloud at once and shower,
Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power,
Which wedding nature to us gives in dower
A new earth and new heaven,
Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud-
Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud-
We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,
All melodies, the echoes of that voice,
All colours a suffusion from that light.
There was a time when, though my path was rough,
This joy within me dallied with distress,
And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
Whence fancy made me dreams of happiness :
For hope grew round me, like the twining vine,
And fruits and foliage, not my own seem'd mine.
But now afflictions bow me down to earth :
Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth,
But oh! each visitation
Suspends what nature gave me at my birth,
My shaping spirit of imagination.
For not to think of what I needs must feel,
But to be still and patient, all I can;
And haply by abstruse research to steal
From my own nature all the natural man
This was my sole resource, my only plan: Till that which suits a part infects the whole, And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.
Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind,
Reality's dark dream!
I turn from you, and listen to the wind,
Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream
Of agony by torture lengthened out
That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that ravest without,
Bare crag or mountain-tairn, or blasted tree,
Or pine-grove whither woodman never clomb,
Or lonely house, long held the witches' home,
Methinks were fitter instruments for thee,
Mad Lutanist! who in this month of showers,
Of dark brown gardens, and of peeping flowers,
Mak'st Devils' yule, with worse than wintry song,
The blossoms, buds, and timorous leaves among.
Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds!
Thou mighty Poet, e'en to frenzy bold !
What tellist thou now about?
'Tis of the rushing of an host in rout,
With groans of trampled men with smarting wounds-
At once they groan with pain, and shudder with the cold !
But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence !
And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd,
With groans, and tremulous shudderings-all is over-
It tells another tale, with sounds less deep and loud!