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Retains that smile; as when a waveless lake,
In which the wint'ry stars all bright appear,
Is sheeted by a nightly frost with ice,
Still it reflects the face of heaven unchang'd,
Unruffled by the breeze or sweeping blast.
Again that knell! The slow procession stops:
The pall withdrawn, Death's altar, thick emboss'd
With melancholy ornaments,-(the name,
The record of her blossoming age,)-appears
Unveil'd, and on its dust the dust is thrown,
The final rite. Oh! hark that sullen sound!
On the lower'd coffin the shovell'd clay
Falls fast, and fills the void.
Oft in the lone church-yard at night I've seen,
By glimpse of moon-light passing through the trees,
The school-boy with his satchel in his hand,
Whistling aloud to bear his courage up,
And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones
(With nettles skirted, and with moss o'ergrown)
That tell in homely phrase who lies below;
Sudden he starts! and hears, or thinks he hears,
The sound of something purring at his heels;
Full fast he flies, and dare not look behind him,
"Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows;
Who gather round, and wonder, at the tale
Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly,
That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand
O'er some new open'd grave; and, strange to tell!
Evanishes at crowing of the cock.
The new-made widow too, I've sometimes spied,
Sad sight! slow moving o'er the prostrate dead:
Listless, she crawls along in doleful black,
While bursts of sorrow gush from either eye
Fast falling down her now untasted cheek.
Prone on the lovely grave of the dear man
She drops whilst busy, meddling memory,
In barbarous succession, musters up
The past endearments of their softer hours,
Tenacious of its theme. Still, still, she thinks
She sees him, and indulging the fond thought,
Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf,
Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way.
Invidious grave! how dost thou rend in sunder
Whom Love has knit and Sympathy made one!
A tie more stubborn far, than Nature's bond.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweet'ner of life and solder of society !
I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved from me,
Far, far beyond what I can ever pay.
Oft have I prov'd the labors of thy love,
And the warm efforts of the gentle heart
Anxious to please. O! when my friend and I
In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down
Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank,
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along
In grateful errors, through the underwood
Sweet murm'ring: methought the shrill-ton'd thrush
Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird
Mellow his pipe, and soften'd ev'ry note;
The eglantine smell'd sweeter, and the rose
Assum'd a dye more deep; whilst every flower
Vied with his fellow plant in luxury
Of dress. Oh! then the longest summer's day
Seem'd too, too much in haste; still the full heart
Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness
Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed,
Not to return, how painful the remembrance!
COLLINS' ODE ON THE PASSIONS.
Few productions of genius are to be found in the English Language, the recital of which is better calculated for that Exercise and preparation of the Or gans indispensable for the higher graces of Oratorical expression, than the following Ode of Collins'.
When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The passions oft, to hear her shell,
Throng'd around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possess'd beyond the Muse's painting.
By turns, they felt the glowing mind
Disturb'd, delighted, rais'd, refin'd:
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fir'd,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspir'd,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound;
And as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each (for madness rul'd the hour)
Would prove his own expressive power..
First, Fear, his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid;
And back recoil'd he knew not why,
Even at the sound himself had made.
Next, Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire;
In lightnings own'd his secret stings.
In one rude clash he struck the lyre-
And swept with hurry'd hands, the strings.
With woful measures, wan Despair
Low sullen sounds his grief beguil'd; A solemn, strange, and mingled air;
'Twas sad, by fits-by starts 'twas wild.
But thou O Hope! with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure?
Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail.
Still would her touch the strain prolong;
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She call'd on echo still through all her song;
And, where her sweetest theme she chose, A soft responsive voice was heard at every close; And Hope, enchanted, smil'd and wav'd her golden
And longer had she sung-but, with a frown
Revenge impatient rose.
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down;
And, with a withering look,
The war denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast, so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of wo;
And, ever and anon, he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat.
And though, sometimes, each dreary pause between, Dejected Pity at his side,
Her soul subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unaltered mein; While each strain'd ball of sight-seem'd bursting from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd;
Sad proof of thy distressful state.
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd:
And, now, it courted Love; now, raving call'd on
With eyes up rais'd, as one inspir'd,
Pale Melancholy sat retir'd;
And from her wild sequestered seat,
In notes by distance made more sweet,
Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul;
And, dashing soft, from rocks around,
Bubbling runnels join'd the sound.
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole,
Or o'er some haunted streams, with fond delay,
(Round a holy calm diffusing,
Love of peace and lonely musing)
In hollow murmurs died away.
But, 0, how alter'd was its sprightlier tone!
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,
The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad known.
The oak crown'd Sisters, and their chaste eye'd
Satyrs, and sylvan Boys, were seen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green:
Brown Exercise rejoic'd to hear;
And Sport leapt up, and seiz'd his beechen speak.
Last came Joy's ecstatic trial.
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand address'd; But, soon he saw the brisk awakening viol,
Whose sweet entrancing voice he lov'd the best. They would have thought who heard the strain,
They saw, in Temple's vale, her native maids,
Amid the festal sounding shades,
To some unweary'd minstrel dancing;
While, as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings,
Love fram'd with Mirth a gay fantastic round,
(Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound) And he amid his frolic play,