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While faintly through my dream I heard
The hymning of that holy bird,
Who with more gushing rapture sings
The higher up in heaven float his unwearied wings !
In that my mournful reverie,
song of heavenly birth,
The voice seemed of a soul set free
From this imprisoning earth;
Higher and higher still it soared,
A holy anthem that adored,
Till vanished song and singer blest
In the blue depths of everlasting rest.
Just then a child in sportive glee
Came gliding o'er the graves,
Like a lone bird that on the sea
Floats dallying with the waves;
Upon the vernal flowers awhile
She pour'd the beauty of her smile,-
Then laid her bright cheek on the sod,
And, overpowered with joy, slept in the eye of God.
The flowers that shine all round her head
May well be breathing sweet ;
For flowers are they that spring hath shed,
To deck her winding sheet ;
And well the tenderest gleams may fall
Of sunshine, on that hillock small
On which she sleeps,-for they have smiled O'er the predestined grave of that unconscious child.
In bridal garments, white as snow,
A solitary maid
Doth meekly bring a sunny glow
Into that solemn shade :
A churchyard seems a joyful place
In the visit of so sweet a face;
A soul is in that deep blue eye
Too good to live on earth,—too beautiful to die.
But Death behind a marble tomb
Looks out upon his prey ;
And smiles to know that heavenly bloom
Is yet of earthly clay.
Far off I hear a wailing wide,
And, while I gaze upon that bride,
A silent wraith before me stands,
And points unto a grave with cold, pale, clasped hands.
A matron, beautiful and bright,
As is the silver moon,
Whose lustre tames the sparkling light
Of the starry eyes of June,
Is shining o'er the churchyard lone;
While circling her as in a zone,
Delighted dance five cherubs fair,
And round their native urn shake wide their golden hair.
Oh! children they are holy things,
In sight of earth and heaven;
An angel shields with guardian wings
The home where they are given.
Strong power there is in children's tears,
And stronger in their lisped prayers;
But the vulture stoops down from above,
And, 'mid her orphan brood, bears off the parent dove.
The young,—the youthful,—the mature
Have smiled and all past by,
As if nought lovely could endure
Beneath the envious sky;
While bow'd with age, and age's woes
Still near,—yet still far off the close
Of weary life, yon aged crone
Can scarce with blind eyes find her husband's funeral-stone.
All dead the joyous, bright, and free,
To whom this life was dear !
The green leaves shiver'd from the tree,
And dangling left the sere !
O dim wild world !—but from the sky
Down came the glad lark waveringly;
And, startled by his liquid mirth,
I rose to walk in faith the darkling paths of earth.
Beside her babe, who sweetly slept,
A widow'd mother sat and wept
O'er years of love gone by ;
And as the sobs thick-gathering came,
She murmur'd her dead husband's name
'Mid that sad lullaby.
Well might that lullaby be sad,
For not one single friend she had
On this cold-hearted earth;
The sea will not give back its prey,—
And he was wrapt in foreign clay
the orphan birth.
Steadfastly as a star doth look
Upon a little murmuring brook,
She gazed upon the bosom And fair brow of her sleeping son ;“O merciful Heaven! when I am gone,
Thine is this earthly blossom !"
While thus she sat–a sunbeam broke
Into the room ;—the babe awoke,
And from his cradle smiled !
Ah me! what kindling smiles met there,
I know not whether was more fair
The mother or her child :
With joy fresh sprung from short alarms,
The smiler stretched his rosy arms,
And to her bosom leapt;
All tears at once were swept away,
And, said a face as bright as day,
Forgive me—that I wept !"
Sufferings there are from Nature sprung, Ear hath not heard, nor Poet's tongue
May venture to declare; But this as Holy Writ is sure, “The grief she bids us here endure,
She can herself repair !"
THE THREE SEASONS OF LOVE.
With laughter swimming in thine eye, That told youth's heartfelt revelry!
And motion changeful as the wing
Of swallow waken'd by the spring ;
With accents blithe as voice of May,
Chaunting glad Nature's roundelay;
Circled by joy like planet bright
That smiles ’mid wreaths of dewy light,-
Thy image such, in former time,
When thou, just entering on thy prime,
And woman's sense in thee combined
Gently with childhood's simplest mind,
First taught'st my sighing soul to move
With hope towards the heaven of love!
Now years have given my Mary's face
A thoughtful and a quiet grace ;-
Though happy still—yet chance distress
Hath left a pensive loveliness !
Fancy hath tamed her fairy gleams,
And thy heart broods o'er home-born dreams!
Thy smiles, slow-kindling now and mild,
Shower blessings on a darling child ;
Thy motion slow, and soft thy tread,
As if round thy hush'd infant's bed!
And when thou speak'st, thy melting tone,
That tells thy heart is all my own.
Sounds sweeter, from the lapse of years,
With the wife's love, the mother's fears !
By thy glad youth, and tranquil prime
Assured, I smile at hoary time!
For thou art doom'd in age to know
The calm that wisdom steals from wo;
The holy pride of high intent,
The glory of a life well spent.