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No home he sought by a river's brink,
In the shadiest spot of all:
When sense was cloyed to rest, and think
What joy he next could call,
For the dark-hued damsels and the wineThe burning pleasures of the line.
His hand it bore the word of God
It spread his only view;
The scorching soil unmoved he trod,
And drank the unwholesome dew,
Peace from its living page to fling,
Balm in the cup of woe to wring.
O, 'twas enough to rouse all hell
To see that blessed book!
To mark beneath its magic spell,
The slave no longer look
Ay, prone on earth, but, rising, scan,
His chartered rights as free-born man!
The tree of liberty was ne'er
Of free spontaneous birth;
Watered with blood and many a tear,
It soars above the earth,
Till, lost in depths of heaven on high,
It builds a path-way to the sky.
Then springs the wild hut, bosomed lone,
In glens and mountain wood;
Gay peace, with justice, build their throne
Amid the solitude
Heaven showers its dewiest influence bland
As if with more unsparing hand.
O, wanderer! would thy heart forget
Each earthly passion and regret,
LINES WRITTEN IN A HERMITAGE ON THE
And would thy wearied spirit rise
To commune with its native skies;
Pause for a while, and deem it sweet
To linger in this calm retreat;
And give thy cares, thy griefs, a short suspense, Amid wild scenes of lone magnificence.
Unmixed with aught of meaner tone,
Here nature's voice is heard alone:
When the loud storm in wrathful hour,
Is rushing on its wing of power,
And spirits of the deep awake,
And surges foam, and billows break,
And rocks, and ocean-caves around,
Reverberate each awful sound;
That mighty voice, with all its dread control, To loftiest thought shall wake thy thrilling soul.
But when no more the sea-winds rave,
When peace is brooding on the wave,
And from earth, air, and ocean rise
No sounds but plaintive melodies;
Soothed by their softly-mingling swell,
As daylight bids the world farewell,
The rustling wood, the dying breeze,
The faint, low rippling of the seas,
A tender calm shall steal upon thy breast,
A gleam reflected from the realms of rest.
Is thine a heart the world hath stung,
Friends have deceived, neglect hath wrung?
Hast thou some grief that none may know,
Some lonely, secret, silent woe?
Or have thy fond affections fled
From earth, to slumber with the dead?
Oh ! pause awhile the world disown,
And dwell with nature's self alone!
And though no more she bids arise
Thy soul's departed energies,
And though thy joy of life is o'er,
Beyond her magic to restore;
Yet shall her spells o'er every passion steal,
And sooth the wounded heart they cannot heal.
My untried muse shall no high tune assume,
Nor strut in arms;-farewell my cap and plume:
Brief be my verse, a task within my power,
I tell my feelings in one happy hour,
But what an hour was that, when from the main I reached this lovely valley once again;
A glorious harvest filled my eager sight,
Half shocked, half waving in a flood of light;
On that poor cottage roof where I was born
The sun looked down, as in life's early morn.
I gazed round, but not a soul appeared;
I listened on the threshold, nothing heard ;
I called my father thrice, but no one came;
It was not fear or grief that shook my frame,
But an o'erpowering sense of peace and home,
Of toils gone by, perhaps of joys to come.
The door invitingly stood open wide,
I shook my dust, and set my staff aside ;
How sweet it was to breathe the cooler air,
And take possession of my father's chair!
Beneath my elbow, on the solid frame,
Appeared the rough initials of my name,
Cut forty years before; the same old clock
Struck the same bell, and gave my heart a shock
I never can forget. A short breeze sprung,
And while a sigh was trembling on my tongue,
Caught the old dangling almanacks behind,
And up they flew, like banners in the wind;