Page images
PDF

POEMS

REFLECTION AND SENTIMENT.

Ode to Puty.

STERN Daughter of the Voice of God !

O Duty ! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod

To check the erring, and reprove;
Thou, who art victory and law
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free;
And caln’st the weary strife of frail humanity!
There are who ask not if thine eye

Be on them ; who, in love and truth,
Where no misgiving is, rely

Upon the genial sense of youth: Glad hearts without reproach or blot ; Who do thy work, and know it not: Oh! if through confidence misplaced They fail, thy saving arms, dread Power! around them cast. Serene will be our days and bright,

And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,

And joy its own security
And they a blissful course may hold
Even now, who, not unwisely bold,
Live in the spirit of this creed ;
Yet seek thy firm support, according to their need,

I, loving freedom, and untried ;

No sport of every random gust,
Yet being to myself a guide,

Too blindly have reposed my trust:
And oft when in my heart was heard
Thy timely mandate, I deferr'd
The task, in smoother walks to stray ;
But Thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may.
Through no disturbance of my soul,

Or strong compunction in me wrought,
I supplicate for thy control;

But in the quietness of thought:
Me this uncharter'd freedom tires ;
I feel the weight of chance-desires :
My hopes no more must change their name,
I long for a repose that ever is the same.
Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear

The godhead's most benignant grace;
Nor know we any thing so fair

As the smile upon thy face : Flowers laugh before Thee on their beds And fragrance in thy footing treads; Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong, And the most ancient heavens, through Thee are fresh and

strong. To humbler functions, awful Power!

I call thee: I myself commend
Unto thy guidance from this hour;

Oh, let my weakness have an end !
Give unto me, made lowly wise,
The spirit of self-sacrifice;
The confidence of reason give,
And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live!

WORDSWORTH,

Life Lost.
Men think it is an awful sight

To see a soul just set adrift
On that drear voyage from whose night

The ominous shadows never lift;

But 'tis more awful to behold

A helpless infant newly born, Whose little hands unconscious hold

The keys of darkness and of morn. Mine held them once ; I flung away

Those keys that might have open set The golden sluices of the day,

But clutch the keys of darkness yet; I hear the reapers singing go

Into God's harvest; 1, that might With them have chosen, here below

Grope shuddering at the gate of night. O glorious Youth! that once wast mine !

o high ideal! all in vain Ye enter at this ruin'd shrine

Whence worship ne'er shall rise again;
The bat and owl inhabit here,

The snake rests in the altar-stone,
The sacred vessels moulder near,
The image of the God is gone.

LOWELL.

2 Ysalm of Life. Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

"Life is but an empty dream!” For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest !

And the grave is not its goal; “ Dust thou art, to dust returnest,"

Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting.

And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !

Be a hero in the strife !
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !

Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act-act in the living Present !

Heart within, and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints in the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
Some forlorn and shipwreck'd brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate ; Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and to wait. LONGFELLOW.

Aspirations of Youth.
HIGHER, higher will we climb

Up the mount of Glory;
That our names may live through time

In our country's story;
Happy, when her welfare calls,
He who conquers, he who falls.
Deeper, deeper let us toil

In the mines of knowledge ; Nature's wealth and learning's spoil,

Win from school and college ; Delve we there for richer gems Than the stars of diadems. Onward, onward will we press

Through the path of duty ;
Virtue is true happiness,

Excellence true beauty.
Minds are of supernal birth,
Make we then a heaven of earth.

Closer and closer then we knit

Hearts and hands together,
Where our fireside comforts sit

In the coldest weather:
0! they wander wide, who roam,
For the joys of life, from home.
Nearer, dearer bands of love

Draw our souls in union,
To our Father's house above,

To the saints' communion; Thither every hope ascend, There may all our labours end.

MONTGOMERY.

The Happy Life.
How happy is he born and taught,

That serveth not another's will ;
Whose armour is his honest thought,

And simple truth his utmost skill! Whose passions not his masters are,

Whose soul is still prepared for death, Untied unto the worldly care

Of public fame or private breath;
Who envies none that chance doth raise,

Or vice; who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise ;

Nor rules of state, but rules of good;
Who hath his life from rumours freed,

Whose conscience is his strong retreat ; Whose state can neither flatterers feed,

Nor ruin make oppressors great ; Who God doth late and early pray,

More of his grace than gifts to lend ; And entertains the harmless day

With a religious book or friend; This man is freed from servile bands

Of hope to rise, or fear to fall; Lord of himself, though not of lands; And, having nothing, yet hath all.

WOTTON.

« PreviousContinue »