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VIRTUE. — George Herbert.
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky,
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night ;
For thou must die.
Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave,
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,
Thy root is ever in its grave,
And thou must die.
Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie,
Thy music shows ye have your closes,
And all must die.
Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like seasoned timber, never gives;
But, though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.
TO A SKYLARK. – Wordsworth.
ETHEREAL minstrel ! pilgrim of the sky !
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground ?
Thy nest, which thou canst drop into at will,
Those quivering wings composed, that music still !
To the last point of vision and beyond,
Mount, daring warbler!- that love-prompted strain
('Twixt thee and thine a never failing bond)
Thrills not the less the bosom of the plain ;
Yet might'st thou seem, proud privilege! to sing
All independent of the leafy spring.
Leave to the nightingale her shady wood,
A privacy of glorious light is thine ;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with instinct more divine ;
Type of the wise, who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of heaven and home!
TO THE BBAMBLE-FLOWER. - Elliott.
Thy fruit full well the schoolboy knows,
Wild bramble of the brake !
So put forth thy small, white rose ;
I love it for his sake.
Though woodbines flaunt, and roses glow,
O'er all the fragrant bowers,
Thou need'st not be ashamed to show
Thy, satin-threaded flowers ;
For dull the eye, the heart is dull,
That cannot feel how fair,
Amid all beauty beautiful,
Thy tender blossoms are !
How delicate thy gauzy frill !
How rich thy branchy stem!
How soft thy voice, when woods are still,
And thou sing'st hymns to them;
While silent showers are falling slow,
And, 'mid the general hush,
A sweet air lifts the little bough,
Lone whispering through the bush !
The primrose to the grave is gone;
The hawthorn-flower is dead;
The violet by the mossed gray stone
Hath laid her weary head;
But thou, wild bramble ! back dost bring,
In all their beauteous power,
The fresh, green days of life's fair spring,
And boyhood's blossomy hour.
Scorned bramble of the brake! once more
Thou bidd'st me be a boy,
To gad with thee the woodlands o'er,
In freedom and in joy.
LINES WRITTEN IN A HIGHLAND GLEN. - Wilson
To whom belongs this valley fair,
That sleeps beneath the filmy air,
Even like a living thing?
Silent - as infant at the breast -
Save a still sound that speaks of rest,
That streamlet's murmuring!
The heavens appear to love this vale ;
Here clouds with scarce-seen motion sail,
Or 'mid the silence lie!
By that blue arch, this beauteous earth,
'Mid evening's hour of dewy mirth,
Seems bound unto the sky.
O, that this lovely vale were mine!
Then, from glad youth to calm decline,
My years would gently glide ;
Hope would rejoice in endless dreams,
And memory's oft returning gleams
By peace be sanctified.
There would unto my soul be given,
From presence of that gracious heaven,
A piety sublime !
And thoughts would come of mystic mood,
To make in this deep solitude
Eternity of time!
And did I ask to whom belonged
This vale? I feel that I have wronged
Nature's most gracious soul !
She spreads her glories o'er the earth,
And all her children, from their birth,
Are joint heirs of the whole !
Yea, long as Nature's humblest child
Hath kept her temple undefiled
By sinful sacrifice ;
Earth's fairest scenes are all his own;
He is a monarch, and his throne
Is built amid the skies !
THE EVENING RAINBOW. - Southey.
Mild arch of promise ! on the evering sky
Thou shinest fair, with many a lovely ray,
Each in the other melting. Much mine eye
Delights to linger on thee ; for the day,
Changeful and many-weathered, seemed to smile,
Flashing brief splendor through its clouds awhile,
That deepened dark anon, and fell in rain.
But pleasant is it now to pause, and view
Thy various tints of frail and watery hue,
And think the storm shall not return again.
Such is the smile that piety bestows
On the good man's pale cheek, when he in peace,
Departing gently from a world of woes,
Anticipates the realm where sorrows cease.
BOOK OF THE WORLD. — Drummond.
Of this fair volume which we “ World” do name,
If we the sheets and leaves could turn with care
Of Him who it corrects, and did it frame,
We clear might read the art and wisdom rare,
Find out his power, — which wildest powers doth
His providence, — extending everywhere, -
His justice, — which proud rebels doth not spare, –
In every page, - no period of the same!
But silly we, like foolish children, rest
Well pleased with colored vellum, leaves of gold,
Fair, dangling ribands, leaving what is best,
On the great Writer's sense ne'er taking hold ;
Or if by chance we stay our minds on aught,
It is some picture on the margin wrought.
Bird of the wilderness,
Blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place, -
O, to abide in the desert with thee!