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PRELUDE. PLEASANT it was, when woods were green, Dreams that the soul of youth engage
And winds were soft and low, | Ere fancy has been quelled ; 'ib lie amid some sylvan scene,
Old legends of the monkish page, Where, the long drooping boughs between, Traditions of the saint and sage, Shadows dark and sunlight sheen Tales that have the rime of age, Alternate come and go ;
And chronicles of eld. Or, where the denser grove receives
And, loving still these quaint old themes, No sunlight from above,
Even in the city's throng
That, crossed by sbades and sunny gleams, Underneath whose sloping eaves
Water the green land of dreams, The shadows hardly move.
The holy land of song. Beneath some patriarchal tree
Therefore, at Pentecost, which brings I lay upon the ground;
The Spring, clothed like a bride,
When nestling buds unfold their wings, Clapped their little bands in glee,
· And bishop's-caps have golden rings, With one continuous sound;
: Musing upon many things,
I sought the woodlands wide. A slumberous sound,-a sound that brings
The green trees whispered low and mild; The feelings of a dream,
It was a sound of joy! As of innumerable wings,
They were my playmates when a child, As, when a bell no longer swings, And rocked me in their arms so wild ! Faint the hollow murmur rings
Still they looked at me and smiled,
As if I were a boy ;
“Come, be a child once more ! As lapped in thought I used to lie, And waved their long arms to and fry. And gaze into the summer sky,
And beckoned solemnly and slow;
Into the woodlands hoar ;
Into the blithe and breathing air, Are gates unto that Paradise,
Holy thoughts, like stars, arise,
Its clouds are angels' wings.
“Learn, that henceforth thy song shall be, Like one in prayer I stood.
Not mountains capped with snow,
Nor forests sounding like the sea Before me rose an avenue
Nor rivers flowing ceaselessly, Of tall and sombrous pines ;
Where the woodlands bend to see Abroad their fan-like branches grew,
The bending heavens below. And, where the sunshine darted through, There is a forest where the din Spread a vapour soft and blue,
Of iron branches sounds ! In long and sloping lines.
A mighty river roars between, And, falling on my weary brain
And whosoever looks therein,
Sees the heavens all black with sin,-
Sees not its depths, nor bounds.
“ Athwart the swinging branches cast, Dropping on the ripened grain,
Soft rays of sunshine pour ; As once upon the flower.
Then comes the fearful wintry blast;
Our hopes, like withered leaves, fall fast; Visions of childhood! Stay, oh stay!
Pallid lips say, “ It is past ! Ye were so sweet and wild !
We can return no more !' And distant voices seemed to say, “ It cannot be ! They pass away !
“Look, then, into thine heart, and Other themes demand thy lay ;
write! Thou art no more a child !
Yes, into Life's deep stream !
All forms of sorrow and delight, “The land of Song within thee lies, | All solemn Voices of the Night, Watered by living springs ;
That can soothe thee, or affright,The lids of Fancy's sleepless eyes
Be these henceforth thy theme."
HYMN TO THE NIGHT.
'Arrasin, opíaduotos. I HEARD the trailing garments of the From the cool cisterns of the midnight air Night
My spirit drank repose; Sweep through her marble halls !
The fountain of perpetual peace flows I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
From those deep cisterns flows. From the celestial walls.
O holy Night! from thee I learn to I felt her presence, by its spell of might, bear Stoop o'er me from above;
What man bas borne before : The calm, majestic presence of the Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Night,
Care, As of the one I love.
And they complain no more. I heard the sounds of sorrow and Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe delight,
this prayer ; The manifold, soft chimes,
Descend with broad-winged flight, That fill the haunted chambers of the The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the Night,
most fair, Like some old poet's rhymes.
The best beloved Night!
A PSALM OF LIFE.
WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN SAID TO THE PSALMIST. Tell me not, in mournful numbers. In the world's broad field of battle,
“Life is but an empty dream !” In the bivouac of Life, For the soul is dead that slumbers, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! And things are not what they Be a hero in the strife ! seem.
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead ! Life is real ! Life is earnest! | Act—act in the living Present ! And the grave is not its goal;
Heart within, and God o'erhead ! “ Dust thou art, to dust returnest,” Was not spoken of the soul.
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Footprints on the sands of time;Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Footprints, that perbaps another, Find us farther than to-day. | Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
| A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
Seeing, sball take heart again. And our hearts, though stout and Let us, then, be up and doing, brave,
With a heart for any fate ; Still, like muffled drums, are beating Still achieving, still pursuing, Funeral marches to the grave.
Learn to labour and to wait.
FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS. WHEN the hours of Day are numbered, And with them the Being Beauteous, And the voices of the Night
Who unto my youth was given, Wake the better soul, that slumbered, | More than all things else to love me, To a holy, calm delight;
And is now a saint in heaven. Ere the evening lamps are lighted, With a slow and noiseless footstep
And, like phantoms grim and tall, Comes that messenger divine, Shadows from the fitful fire-light Takes the vacant chair beside me, Dance upon the parlour wall ;
Lays her gentle hand in mine. Then the forms of the departed
And she sits and gazes at me Enter at the open door;
With those deep and tender eyes, The beloved, the true-hearted,
Like the stars, so still and saint-like, Come to visit me once more;
Looking downward from the skies. He, the young and strong, who cherished Uttered not, yet comprehended, Noble longings for the strife,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer, By the road-side fell and perished, Soft rebukes, in blessings ended, Weary with the march of life!
Breathing from her lips of air. They, the holy ones and weakly,
O, though oft depress'd and lonely, Who the cross of suffering bore,
All my fears are laid aside, Folded their pale bands so meekly, If I but remember only
Spake with us on earth no more! Such as these have lived and died !
THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
The Reaper said, and smiled ;
And the flowers that grow between. Where he was once a child. “Shall I have nought that is fai. “They shall all bloom in fields of light, saith he ;
Transplanted by my care, “ Have nought but the bearded And saints, upon their garments white, grain ?
These sacred blossoms wear." Though the breath of these flowers is and the mother gave, in tears and pain, sweet to me,
The flowers she most did love; I will give them all back again."
She knew she should find them all again
In the fields of light above. He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath, He kissed their drooping leaves ;
The Reaper came that day ; It was for the Lord of Paradise
'Twas an angel visited the green earth, He bound them in his sheaves.
And took the flowers away.
THE LIGHT OF STARS.
The night is come, but not too soon ;
And sinking silently,
Drops down behind the sky.
But the cold light of stars ;
To the red planet Mars.
The star of love and dreams?
A hero's armour gleams.
When I behold afar,
The shield of that red star.
And smile upon my pain ;
Thou beckonest with thy mailèd hand,
And I am strong again.
But the cold light of stars ;
To the red planet Mars.
He rises in my breast,
And calm, and self-possessed.
That readest this brief psalm,
Be resolute and calm.
And thou shalt know ere long,
FLOWERS. SPAKE full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine, When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Like the burning stars, which they beheld.
God hath written in those stars above; But not less in the bright flowerets under us
Stands the revelation of his love. Bright and glorious is that revelation,
Written all over this great world of ours; Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth,—these golden flowers. And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part Of the self-same universal being
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart. Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,
Buds that open only to decay;
Flaunting gaily in the golden light;
Tender wishes, blossoming at night! These in flowers and men are more than seeming;
Workings are they of the self-same powers, Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeth in himself and in the flowers. Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born; Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn; Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield; Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink;