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THE groves were God's first temples. Ere man learned

To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave,

And spread the roof above them,-ere he framed
The lofty vault, to gather and roll back

The sound of anthems,-in the darkling wood,
Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down
And offered to the Mightiest, solemn thanks
And supplication. For his simple heart
Might not resist the sacred influences,
That, from the stilly twilight of the place,
And from the gray old trunks, that, high in heaven,
Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound
Of the invisible breath that swayed at once
All their green tops, stole over him, and bowed
His spirit with the thought of boundless Power
And inaccessible Majesty. Ah, why


Should we, in the world's riper years, neglect God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore

Only among the crowd, and under roofs

That our frail hands have raised! Let me, at least,
Here, in the shadow of this aged wood,

Offer one hymn-thrice happy, if it find
Acceptance in his ear.

Father, thy hand

Hath reared these venerable columns; Thou
Didst weave this verdant roof.


Thou didst look

Upon the naked earth, and, forthwith, rose
All these fair ranks of trees. They, in Thy sun,
Budded, and shook their green leaves in Thy


And shot towards heaven. The century-living


Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died
Among their branches, till at last they stood,
As now they stand, massy, and tall, and dark
Fit shrine for humble worshipper to hold
Communion with his Maker. Here are seen
No traces of man's pomp or pride ;-no silks
Rustle, no jewels shine, nor envious eyes
Encounter; no fantastic carvings show
The boast of our vain race to change the form
Of thy fair works. But thou art here-thou fill'st
The solitude. Thou art in the soft winds

That run along the summits of these trees

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In music ;-Thou art in the cooler breath,

That, from the inmost darkness of the place, Comes, scarcely felt the barky trunks, the


The fresh moist ground, are all instinct with Thee. Here is continual worship;-nature, here,

In the tranquillity that Thou dost love,

Enjoys Thy presence. Noiselessly, around,
From perch to perch, the solitary bird

Passes; and yon clear spring, that, 'midst its herbs,
Wells softly forth, and visits the strong roots
Of half the mighty forest, tells no tale

Of all the good it does. Thou hast not left
Thyself without a witness, in these shades,
Of Thy perfections. Grandeur, strength, and


Are here to speak of Thee. This mighty oak--
By whose immovable stem I stand, and seem
Almost annihilated-not a prince,

In all the proud old world beyond the deep,
E'er wore his crown as loftily as he
Wears the green coronal of leaves with which
Thy hand has graced him. Nestled at his root
Is beauty, such as blooms not in the glare
Of the broad sun. That delicate forest flower,
With scented breath, and look so like a smile,
Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mould,
An emanation of the in-dwelling Life,
A visible token of the upholding Love,
That are the soul of this wide universe.

My heart is awed within me, when I think
Of the great miracle that still goes on,
In silence, round me-the perpetual work
Of Thy creation, finished, yet renewed
For ever.
Written on Thy works, I read
The lesson of Thy own eternity.

Lo! all grow old and die: but see, again,
How, on the faltering footsteps of decay,
Youth presses-ever gay and beautiful youth-
In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees
Wave not less proudly than their ancestors
Moulder beneath them. O, there is not lost
One of earth's charms: upon her bosom yet,
After the flight of untold centuries,
The freshness of her far beginning lies
And yet shall lie. Life mocks the idle hate
Of his arch enemy Death-yea, seats himself
Upon the sepulchre, and blooms and smiles,
And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe
Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth
From Thine own bosom, and shall have no end.

There have been holy men, who hid themselves Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived The generation born with them, nor seemed Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks Around them:-and there have been holy men, Who deemed it were not well to pass life thus. But let me often to these solitudes

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