« PreviousContinue »
Passing the corner of a populous street,
I marked a girl whose wont it was to stand,
With pallid cheek, torn gown, and naked feet,
And bunches of fresh violets in each hand.
There her small commerce, in the chill March weather,
She plied with accents miserably mild ;
It was a frightful thought to set together
Those blooming blossoms and that fading child :-
Those luxuries and largess of the earth,
Beauty and pleasure to the sense of man,
And this poor sorry weed cast loosely forth
On life's wild waste to struggle as it can !
To me that odorous purple ministers
Hope-bearing memories and inspiring glee;
While meanest images alone are hers, —
The sordid wants of base humanity.
Think, after all this lapse of hungry hours
In the disfurnished chamber of dim cold,
How she must loathe the very scented flowers
That on the squalid table lie unsold !
Rest on your woodland banks and wither there,
Sweet preluders of spring; far better so,
Then live misused to fill the grasp of care,
And serve the piteous purposes of woe.
As precious gums are not for lasting fire,
They but perfume the temple, and expire ;
So was she soon exhaled, and vanished hence ;
A short, sweet odor, of a vast expense.
She vanished, we can scarcely say she died ;
For but a now did heaven and earth divide:
She passed serenely with a single breath;
This moment perfect health, the next was death :
One sigh did her eternal bliss assure;
So little penance needs, when souls are almost pure.
As gentle dreams our waking thoughts pursue ;
Or, one dream passed, we slide into a new ;
So close they follow, such wild order keep,
We think ourselves awake, and are asleep:
So softly death succeeded life in her :
She did but dream of heaven, and she was there.
THE DESERTED HOUSE.- Tennyson.
Life and thought have gone away,
Side by side,
Leaving door and windows wide ;
Careless tenants they !
All within is dark as night!
In the windows is no light;
And no murmur at the door,
So frequent on its hinge before.
Close the door, the shutters close,
Or through the windows we shall see
The nakedness and vacancy
Of the dark, deserted house.
Come away ! no more of mirth
Is here or merry-making sound;
The house was builded of the earth,
And shall fall again to ground.
Come away! for Life and Thought
Here no longer dwell;
But in a city glorious —
A great and distant city — have bought
A mansion incorruptible.
Would they could have stayed with us.
A PSALM OF LIFE. - Longfellow.
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
Footsteps on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life 's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked 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 labor and to wait.
WHERE the remote Bermudas ride,
In the ocean's bosom unespied ;
From a small boat, that rowed along,
The list’ning winds received this song.
" What should we do but sing His praise,
That led us through the watery maze
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own?
Where He the huge sea-monsters wracks,
That lift the deep upon their backs.
He lands us on a glassy stage,
Safe from the storms, and prelate's rage.
He gave us this eternal spring,
Which here enamels every thing;
And sends the fowls to us in care,
On daily visits through the air.
He hangs in shades the orange bright,
Like golden lamps in a green night ;
And does in the pomegranates close
Jewels more rich than Ormus shows.
He makes the figs our mouths to meet ;
And throws the melons at our feet.
But apples plants of such a price,
No tree could ever bear them twice.
With cedars, chosen by His hand *
From Lebanon, He stores the land ;
And makes the hollow seas, that roar,
Proclaim the ambergris on shore.
He cast (of which we rather boast)
The gospel's pearl upon our coast;
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple, where to sound His name.
O, let our voice His praise exalt,
Till it arrive at heaven's vault!
Which, thence (perhaps) rebounding, may
Echo beyond the Mexique bay.”
Thus sung they, in the English boat,
An holy and a cheerful note ;
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.