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FROST AT MIDNIGHT.
THE Frost performs its secret ministry,
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
How oft, at school, with most believing mind, Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower, Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day, So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear Most like articulate sounds of things to come ! So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt, Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams! And so I brooded all the following morn, Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye Fixed with mock study on my swimming book: Save if the door half opened, and I snatched A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up, For still I hoped to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, Fill up the interspersed vacancies And momentary pauses of the thought! My Babe so beautiful it thrills my heart With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, And think that thou shalt learn far other lore And in far other scenes For I was reared In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim, And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores And mountain crags : so shalt thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy God Utters, who from eternity doth teach Himself in all, and all things in himself, Great universal Teacher he shall mould Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth