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COME again, and greet me as a friend, fellow-pilgrim upon life's highway: Leave awhile the hot and dusty road, to loiter in the greenwood of Re
flection. Come, unto my cool dim grotto, that is watered by the rivulet of truth, And over whose time-stained rock climb the fairy flowers of content ; Here, upon this mossy bank of leisure fling thy load of cares, Taste my simple store, and rest one soothing hour.
Behold, I would count thee for a brother, and commune with thy charitable
soul; Though wrapt within the mantle of a prophet, I stand mine own weak
scholar. Heed no disciple for a teacher, if knowledge be not found upon his tongue; For vanity and folly were the lessons these lips untaught could give : The precious staple of my merchandise cometh from a better country, The harvest of my reaping sprang of foreign seed: And this poor pensioner of Mercy—should he boast of merit ? The grafted stock,—should that be proud of apples not its own ? Into the bubbling brook I dip my hermit shell ; Man receiveth as a cup, but Wisdom is the river.
Moreover, for this fillagree of fancy, this Oriental garnish of similitude,
Alas, the world is old and all things old within it:
I walk a trodden path, I love the good old ways:
Prophets, and priests, and kings have tuned the harp I faintly touch.
Truth in a garment of the past, is my choice and simple theme;
No truth is new to-day; and the mantle was another's.
Still, there is an insect swarm, the buzzing cloud of imagery,
Mote-like steaming on my sight, and thronging my reluctant mind;
The memories of studious culling, and multiplied analogies of nature,
Fresh feelings unrepressed, welling from the heart spontaneous,
Facts, and comparisons, and meditative atoms, gathered on the heap of
combination, Mingle in the fashion of my speech with gossamer dreams of Reverie. I need not beat the underwood for game; my pheasants flock upon the
And gamboling hares disport fearless in my dewy field ;
I roam no heath-empurpled hills, wearily watching for a covey,
But thoughts fly swift to my decoy, eager to be caught ;
I sit no quiet angler, lingering patiently for sport,
But spread my nets for a draught, and take the glittering shoal ;
I chase no solitary stag, tracking it with breathless toil,
But hunt with Aurung-zebe, and spear surrounded thousands ! (')
What then,—count ye this a boast ?—sweet charity, think it other,
For the dog-fish and poisonous ray are captured in the mullet-haul:
The crane and the kite are of my thoughts, alike with the partridge and
And unclean meats as of the clean hang upon my Seric shambles.
-How, saith he? shall a man deceive, dressing up his jackal as a lion ?
Or colour in staid hues of fact the changing vest of falsehood ?—
Brother, unwittingly he may; doubtless, unwillingly he doth :
For men are full of fault, and how should he be righteous ?
Carefully my garden hath been weeded, yet shall it be foul with thistle ;
My grapery is diligently thinned, and yet many berries will be sour:
From my nets have I flung the bad away, to my small skill and caution ;
Yet may some slimy snake have counted for an eel;
The rudder of man's best hope cannot always steer himself from error;
The arrow of man's straightest aim flieth short of truth.
Thus, the confession of sincerity visit not as if it were presumption ;
Nor own me for a leader, where thy reason is not guide.
Take courage, prisoner of time, for there be many comforts,
Cease thy labour in the pit, and bask awhile with truants in the sun;
Be cheerful, man of care, for great is the multitude of chances,
Burst thy fetters of anxiety, and walk among the citizens of ease.
Wherefore dost thou doubt ? if present good is round thee,
may be well to look for change, but to trust in a continuance is better;
Whilst, at the crisis of adversity, to hope for some amends were wisdom,
And cheerfully to bear thy cross in patient strength is duty.
I speak of common troubles, and the petty plagues of life,
The phantom-spies of Unbelief, that lurk about his outposts :
Sharp suspicion, dull distrust, and sullen stern moroseness,
Are captains in that locust swarm to lead the cloudy host.
Thou hast need of fortitude and faith, for the adversaries come on thickly,
And he that fled hath added wings to his pursuing foes ;
Fight them, and the cravens flee; thy boldness is their panic;
Fear them, and thy treacherous heart hath lent the ranks a legion:
Among their shouts of victory resoundeth the wail of Heraclitus,
While Democrite, confident and cheerful, hath plucked up the standard
of their camp. (*)
Not few nor light are the burdens of life; then load it not with heaviness
of spirit ; Sickness, and penury, and travail,—there be real ills enow : We are wandering benighted, with a waning moon; plunge not rashly
into jungles, Where cold and poisonous damps will quench the torch of hope : The tide is strong against us; good oarsmen pull or perish,If your arms be slack for fear, ye shall not stem the torrent. A wise traveller goeth on cheerily, through fair weather or foul; He knoweth that his journey must be sped, so he carrieth his sunshine
with him. Calamities come not as a curse,-nor prosperity for other than a trial ; Struggle,—thou art better for the strife, and the very energy shall hearten
thee. Good is taught in a Spartan school,-hard lessons and a rough discipline,
But evil cometh idly of itself, in the luxury of Capuan holidays ;
And wisdom will go bravely forth to meet the chastening scourge,
Enduring with a thankful heart that punishment of Love.
There be three chief rivers of despondency; sin, sorrow, fear;
Sin is the deepest, sorrow hath its shallows, and fear is a noisy rapid :
But even to the darkest holes in guilt's profoundest river
Hope can pierce with quickening ray, and all those depths are lightened.
So long as there is mercy in a God, hope is the privilege of creatures,
And so soon as there is penitence in creatures, that hope is exalted into
Verily, consider this for courage ; that the fearful and the unbelieving
Are classed with idolaters and liars, because they trusted not in God: (*)
For it is no other than selfish sin, a hard and proud ingratitude,
Where seeming repentance is herald of despair, instead of hope's fore-
Moreover, in thy day of Grief,—for friends, or fame, or fortune,
Well I wot the heart shall ache, and mind be numbed in torpor:
Let nature weep; leave her alone ; the freshet of her sorrow must run off;
And sooner will the lake be clear, relieved of turbid floodings.
Yet see that her license hath a limit; with the novelty her agony is over ;
Hasten in that earliest calm, to tie her in the leash with Reason.
For regrets are an enervating folly, and the season for energy is come,
Yea rather, that the future may repair with diligence the ruins of the past.
Again, for empty fears, the harassings of possible calamity;
Pray, and thou shalt prosper; trust in God, and tread them down.
Yield to the phantasy,—thou sinnest; resist it, He will aid thee.
Out of him there is no help, nor any sober courage.
Feeble is the comfort of the faithless, a man without a God;
Who dare counsel such an one to fling away his fears ?
Fear is the heritage of him, a portion wise and merciful,
To drive the trembler into safety, if haply he may turn and flee :
Nevertheless, let him reckon if he will, that all he counteth casual
May as well be for him as against him : dice have many
And, even as in ailments of the body, diseases follow closely upon dreads,
So, with infirmities of mind, is fear the pallid harbinger of failure.
It were wise to talk undaunted even in an accidental chaos,
For the brave man is at peace and free to get the mastery of circumstance.
The stoutest armour of defence is that which is worn within the bosom,
And the weapon that no enemy can parry, is a bold and cheerful spirit :
Catapults in old war worked like Titans, crushing foes with rocks ;
So doth a strong-springed heart throw back every load on its assailants.
I went heavily for cares, and fell into the trance of sorrow :
And behold, a vision in my trance, and my ministering angel brought it:
There stood a mountain huge and steep, the awful Rock of Ages;
The sun upon its summit, and storms midway, and deep ravines at foot;
And, as I looked, a dense black cloud, suddenly dropping from the thunder,
Filled, like a cataract, with yeasty foam, a narrow smiling valley :
Close and hard that vaporous mass seemed to press the ground,
And lamentable sounds came up, as of some that were smothering beneath.
Then, as I walked upon the mountain, clear in summer's noon,
For charity I called aloud, Ho! climb up hither to the sunshine.
And even like a stream of light my voice had pierced the mist :
I saw below two families of men, and knew their names of old:
Courage, struggling through the darkness, stout of heart and gladsome,
Ran up the shining ladder which the voice of hope had made ;
And tripping lightly by his side, a sweet-eyed helpmate with him,
I looked upon her face to welcome pleasant Cheerfulness;
And a babe was cradled in her bosom, a laughing little prattler,
The child of Cheerfulness and Courage-could his name be other than
So, from his happy wife, when they both stood beside me on the mountain,
The fond father took that babe, and set him on his shoulder in the sunshine.
Again I peered into the valley, for I heard a gasping moan,
A desolate weak cry, as muffled in the vapours.
So down that crystal shaft into the poisonous mine
I sped for charity to seek and save,—and those I sought fled from me.
At length, I spied far distant, a trembling withered dwarf,
Who crouched beneath the cloak of a tall and spectral mourner;
Then I knew Cowardice and Gloom, and followed them on in darkness,
Guided by their rustling robes and moans and muffled cries,
Until in a suffocating pit the wretched pair had perished,
And lo, their whitening bones were shaping out an epitaph of Failure.