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236

EXPERIENCE.

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There all our hopes of happiness are placed ;
Life looks without it like a joyless waste;
No good is prized, no comfort sought beside,
Prayers, tears, implore, and will not be denied.
Heaven pitying hears the intemperate, rude appeal,
And suits its answer to our trueșt weal;
The self-sought idol, if at last bestowed,
Proves what our wilfulness required, – a goad.
Ne'er but as needful chastisement is given
The wish thus forced, and torn, and stormed from

Heaven.
But if withheld, in pity, from our prayer,
We rave a while of torment and despair, -
Refuse each proffered comfort with disdain,
And slight the thousand blessings that remain.
Meantime Heaven bears the grievous wrong, and waits,
In patient pity, till the storm abates;
Applies with gentlest hand the healing balm,
Or speaks the ruffled mind into a calm;
Deigning, perhaps, to show the mourner soon
'T was special mercy that denied the boon.

Our blasted hopes, our aims and wishes crost,
Are worth the tears and agonies they cost,
When the poor mind, by fruitless efforts spent,
With food and raiment learns to be content.
Bounding with youthful hope, the restless mind
Leaves that divine monition far behind;
And, tamed at length by suffering, comprehends
The tranquil happiness to which it tends ;
Perceives the high-wrought bliss it aimed to share,
Demands a richer soil, a purer air, —
That 't is not fitted, and would strangely grace
The mean condition of our mortal race;
And all we need in this terrestrial spot
Is calın contentment with “ the common lot."

SAY, HENRY, SHOULD A MAN OF MIND.

Say, Henry, should a man of mind

Sigh o'er his brittle crust,
Or grieve because he is not joined

To fibres more robust ?

Look round, with philosophic ken,

Through Nature's works below, From very atoms up to men

We find it ordered so

That much of all we finest hold,

Admire with one acclaim, Is of a delicater mould,

And of a feebler frame.

Look at bent lilies as you walk,

How elegantly thin!
Yet well the fragrance from that stalk

Proclaims the power within.

Look at the bird with glossiest wings,

Yet sweeter taste than plume, That scuds, that murmurs, sips, and sings,

And feasts upon perfume.

Look at the rose his bill invades

With eager, wanton strife!
On what a slender stalk it fades

And blushes out its life.

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Look aš the sex, whose form may vaunt

More grace than bird or rose;
What fine infirmities enchant,

What frailty charms, in those !

Great minds with energetic thought

Wear out their shell of clay,
Yet at each crevice light is caught,

Till all is mental day.

Then, Henry, let no man of mind

Sigh o'er his brittle crust,
Or grieve because he is not joined

To fibres more robust.

SONNET. - J. R. Lowell.

Through suffering and sorrow thou hast past,
To show us what a woman true may be ;
They have not taken sympathy from thee,
Nor made thee any other than thou wast;
Save as some tree, which, in a sudden blast,
Sheddeth those blossoms that were weakly grown
Upon the air, but keepeth every one
Whose strength gives warrant of good fruit at last;
So thou hast shed some blooms of gayety,
But never one of steadfast cheerfulness,
Nor hath thy knowledge of adversity
Robbed thee of any faith in happiness,
But rather cleared thine inner eyes to see
How many simple ways there are to bless.

THE FORERUNNERS. – R. W. Emerson.

Long I followed happy guides,
I could never reach their sides.
Their step is forth, and ere the day
Breaks up their leaguer and away.
Keen my sense, my heart was young,
Right good-will my sinews strung,
But no speed of mine avails
To hunt upon their shining trails.
On and away, their hasting feet
Make the morning proud and sweet.
Flowers they strew, I catch the scent,
Or tone of silver instrument
Leaves on the wind melodious trace,
Yet I could never see their face.
On eastern hills I see their smokes
Mixed with mist by distant lochs.
I met many travellers,
Who the road had surely kept,
They saw not my fine revellers,
These had crossed them while they slept.
Some had heard their fine report,
In the country or the court.
Fleetest couriers alive
Never yet could once arrive,
As they went or they returned,
At the house where these sojourned.
Sometimes their strong speed they slacken,
Though they are not overtaken;
In sleep their jubilant troop is near,
I tuneful voices overhear,
It may be in wood or waste, –
At unawares 't is come and passed.

240

THE SUMMER EVENING.

Their near camp my spirit knows
By signs gracious as rainbows.
I thenceforward, and long after,
Listen for their harp-like laughter,
And carry in my heart for days
Peace that hallows rudest ways.

THE SUMMER EVENING. – Clare.

The sinking sun is taking leave,
And sweetly gilds the edge of eve,
While huddling clouds of purple dye
Gloomy hang the western sky;
Crows crowd croaking overhead,
Hastening to the woods to bed ;
Cooing sits the lonely dove,
Calling home her absent love;
From the hay-cock's moistened heaps,
Startled frogs take vaulting leaps,
And along the shaven mead,
Jumping travellers, they proceed;
Quick the dewy grass divides,
Moistening sweet their speckled sides.
From the grass or floweret's cup,
Quick the dew-drop bounces up.
Now the blue fog creeps along,
And the bird's forgot his song;
Flowers now sleep within their hoods,
Daisies button into buds;
From soiling dew the buttercup
Shuts his golden jewels up;
And the rose and woodbine, they
Wait again the smiles of May.

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