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THE LIFE OF MAN.
[MRS. ANN GILBERT.]
ALONG the dim valley, aslant from the mountain,
How fair are the colours of even that float!
That sleep in the streamlet, that glance from the fountain,
Or mark the low casement in hamlet remote;
And sweet is the music the cool zephyr swelling,
The lark's latest vesper, the sheep-bell afar,
The bee's homeward hum to his bark-covered dwelling,
Or shepherd's lone song to the earliest star.
The whisper of brooks, over smooth pebbles creeping,
The flock winding slowly along to the fold;
The moon's yellow beam on the placid hill sleeping,
Now splendid no longer with crimson and gold;—
Then throbs the young stranger to life, and to sorrow,
Enjoyment's fine thrill to each feeling convey'd ;
All hope, he bounds onward to welcome the morrow,
And pluck its wild roses ere yet they can fade.
But, plucked its wild roses,-to-morrow departed,
And life's purple blossoms surmounted with snow,
No longer the fine thrill of pleasure is darted,
Alert through the current, now check'd in its flow:
Still glitters the sun-beam aslant from the fountain,
On late dying breezes float harmonies sweet;
With Nature's wild music the sky-lark is mounting,
And bees homeward hum to their woodland retreat.
But man, changing man, is forsaking his dwelling,
The eye, once enchanted, is weary and dim;
No more the fond bosom with rapture is swelling,
And Nature breathes vainly redundant for him;
Amid the gay scene, with infirmity bending,
His thin silver tresses to summer winds wave,
And the flower that in years vanished long, he was
Prepares to expand her next bloom on his grave.
The willow whence oft the lithe twig he would sever In life's idle morn, o'er his dwelling shall weep; The nightingale's song, that delighted him ever,
Flow liquid, nor wake his unchangeable sleep; The sun's early beam, or in glory declining,
Around his green grave shall its brilliancy pour, And Time's busy children exult in its shining, But this wither'd nerve plays responsive no more.
Brief story!-the tears of regret, fast descending,
Would blot from the landscape a vista so drear;
If this, child of hope, be thy bright vision's ending,
O, wherefore live on the ill-omen'd career?-
But no,-if one truth to the heart can be spoken
By feeling, by reason, by Oracle high,
"Tis this, that when Life's golden bowl shall be broken, Thy star, Immortality, breaks on the sky!
UNAW'D by threats, unmov'd by force,
My steady soul pursues her course,
Collected, calm, resign'd!
Say you, who search with curious
The source whence human actions rise,
Say whence this turn of mind.
"Tis Patience-Lenient Goddess, hail! Oh! let thy votary's vows prevail
Thy threaten'd flight to stay;
Long hast thou been a welcome guest,
Long reign'd an inmate in this breast,
And rul'd with gentle sway.
Through all the various turns of fate,
Ordain'd me in each several state,
My wayward lot has known; What taught me silently to bear, To curb the sigh, to check the tear, When sorrow weigh'd me down?
'Twas Patience-Temperate Goddess, stay! For still thy dictates I obey,
Nor yield to passion's power;
Thongh by injurious foes borne down,
My fame, my toil, my hopes o'erthrown
In one ill-fated hour.
When robb'd of what I held most dear,
My hands adorn'd the mournful bier
Of her I loved so well;
What, when mute sorrow chain'd my tongue,
As o'er the sable hearse I hung,
Forbade the tide to swell?
'Twas Patience-Goddess ever calm,
Oh! pour into my breast thy balm,
That antidote to pain!
Which, flowing from thy nectar'd urn,
By chemistry divine can turn
Our losses into gain.
When sick and languishing in bed,
Sleep from my restless couch had fled,
(Sleep, which e'en pain beguiles)
What taught me calmly to sustain
A feverish being rack'd with pain,
And dress'd my looks with smiles.
'Twas Patience-Heaven-descended maid! Implor'd, fled swiftly to my aid;
And lent her fost❜ring breast; Watch'd my sad hours with parent care, Repell'd the approaches of despair,
And sooth'd my soul to rest.
Say, when dissever'd from his side,
My friend, protector, and my guide,
When my prophetic soul,
Anticipating all the storm,
Saw danger in its direst form,
What could my fears control?
'Twas Patience-Gentle Goddess, hear!
Be ever to thy suppliant near,
Nor let one murmur rise;
Since still some mighty joys are given,
Dear to the soul the gifts of heaven,
The sweet domestic ties.
YE nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and th' Aonian maids,
Delight no more-O Thou, my voice inspire,
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the bard begun:
A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a son!
From Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies :
Th' æthereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic dove.
Ye heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storm a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn!
O spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See, nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring:
See lofty Lebanon his head advance;
See nodding forests on the mountains dance;
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers:
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears!
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains! and ye valleys, rise!
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way:
The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him, ye deaf; and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall
the visual ray,
And on the sightless eye-ball pour the day;