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I MARVEL not, O Sun! that unto thee
In adoration man should bow the knee,
his prayers of mingled awe and love;
For like a God thou art, and on thy way
Of glory sheddest with benignant ray,
Beauty, and life, and joyance from above.
No longer let these mists thy radiance shroud, These cold raw mists that chill the comfortless day; But shed thy splendour through the opening cloud
And cheer the earth once more. The languid flowers Lie odourless, bent down with heavy rain,
Earth asks thy presence, saturate with showers! O lord of light! put forth thy beams again,
For damp and cheerless are the gloomy hours.
Man hath a weary pilgrimage
As through the world he wends,
On every stage from youth to age
Still discontent attends;
With heaviness he casts his eye
Upon the road before,
And still remembers with a sigh
The days that are no more.
To school the little exile goes,
Torn from his mother's arms,What then shall soothe his earliest woes,
When novelty hath lost its charms? Condemn'd to suffer through the day Restraints which no rewards repay,
And cares where love has no concern: Hope lengthens as she counts the hours
Before his wished return.
From hard control and tyrant rules,
The unfeeling discipline of schools,
In thought he loves to roam,
And tears will struggle in his eye
While he remembers with a sigh
The comforts of his home.
Youth comes; the toils and cares of life
Torment the restless mind;
Where shall the tired and harass'd heart
Its consolation find ?
Then is not Youth, as Fancy tells,
Life's summer prime of joy?
Ah no! for hopes too long delay'd,
And feelings blasted or betray'd,
The fabled bliss destroy;
And Youth remembers with a sigh
The careless days of infancy.
Maturer Manhood now arrives,
And other thoughts come on,
But with the baseless hopes of Youth
Its generous warmth is gone;
Cold calculating cares succeed,
The timid thought, the wary deed,
The dull realities of truth;
Back on the past he turns his eye;
Remembering with an envious sigh
The happy dreams of Youth.
So reaches he the latter stage
Of this our mortal pilgrimage,
With feeble step and slow;
New ills that latter stage await,
And old Experience learns too late
That all is vanity below.
Life's vain delusions are gone by,
Its idle hopes are o'er,
Yet Age remembers with a sigh
The days that are no more.
Passing across a green and lonely lane
A funeral met our view. It was not here
A sight of every day, as in the streets
Of some great city, and we stopt and ask'd
Whom they were bearing to the grave. A girl,
They answer'd, of the village, who had pined
Through the long course of eighteen months
With such slow wasting, that the hour of death
Came welcome to her. We pursued our way
To the house of mirth, and with that idle talk
passes o'er the mind and is forgot,
We wore away the time. But it was eve
When homewardly I went, and in the air
Was that cool freshness, that discolouring shade
Which makes the eye turn inward: hearing then
Over the vale the heavy toll of death
Sound slow, it made me think upon the dead;
I question’d more, and learnt her mournful tale.
She bore unhusbanded a mother's pains,
And he who should have cherish'd her, far off
Sail'd on the seas.
Left thus a wretched one,
Scorn made a mock of her, and evil tongues
Were busy with her name. She had to bear
The sharper sorrow of neglect from him
Whom she had loved so dearly. Once he wrote,
But only once that drop of comfort came
To m ngle with her cup of wretchedness;
And when his parents had some tidings from him,
There was no mention of poor Hannah there,
Or 'twas the cold inquiry, more unkind
Than silence. So she pined and pined away,
And for herself and baby toil'd and toild;
Nor did she, even on her death-bed, rest
From labour, knitting there with lifted arms,
Till she sunk with very weakness. Her old mother
Omitted no kind office, working for her,
Albeit her hardest labour barely earn'd
Enough to keep life struggling, and prolong
The pains of grief and sickness. Thus she lay
On the sick bed of poverty, worn out
With her long suffering and those painful thoughts
Which at her heart were rankling, and so weak,
That she could make no effort to express
Affection for her infant; and the child,
Whose lisping love perhaps had solaced her,
Shunn'd her as one indifferent. But she too
Had grown indifferent to all things of earth;
Finding her only comfort in the thought
Of that cold bed wherein the wretched rest.
There had she now, in that last home been laid,
And all was over now,-sickness and grief,
Her shame, her suffering, and her penitence:
Their work was done. The schoolboys as they sport
In the churchyard, for awhile might turn away
From the fresh grave till grass should cover it;
Nature would do that office soon; and none
Who trod upon the senseless turf would think
Of what a world of woes lay buried there!
Slowly thy flowing tide
Came in old Avon! scarcely did mine eyes,
As watchfully I roam'd thy green-wood side,
Behold the gentle rise.
With many a stroke and strong
The labouring boatmen upward plied their oars,
And yet the eye beheld them labouring long
Between thy winding shores.
Now down thine ebbing tide
The unlabour'd boat falls rapidly along ;
The solitary helmsman sits to guide,
And sings an idle song.
Now o'er the rocks that lay
So silent late the shallow current roars;
Fast flow thy waters on their sea-ward way,
Through wider-spreading shores.