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”Tis a low chant, according well
With the soft solitary knell, As homeward from some grave belov'd we turn,
Or by some holy death-bed dear,
Most welcome to the chasten'd ear Of her whom heaven is teaching how to mourn.
O cheerful tender strain! the heart
That duly bears with you its part, Singing so thankful to the dreary blast,
Though gone and spent its joyous prime,
And on the world's autumnal time, 'Mid wither'd hues and sere, its lot be cast :
That is the heart for thoughtful seer,
Watching, in trance nor dark nor clear", Th' astounding Future as it nearer draws:
His spirit calm’d the storm to meet,
Feeling the rock beneath his feet, And tracing through the cloud th' eternal Cause.
d Zechariah xiv. 6. It shall come to pass in that day, that the night shall not be clear nor dark.
That is the heart for watchman true
Waiting to see what God will do, As o’er the Church the gathering twilight falls :
No more he strains his wistful eye,
If chance the golden hours be nigh, By youthful Hope seen beaming round her walls.
Forc'd from his shadowy paradise,
His thoughts to Heaven the steadier rise: There seek his answer when the world reproves :
Contented in his darkling round,
If only he be faithful found, When from the east th' eternal morning moves.
Note: The expression, “calm decay,” is borrowed from a friend: by whose kind permission the following stanzas are here inserted.
TO THE RED-BREAST.
UNHEARD in summer's flaring ray,
Pour forth thy notes, sweet singer,
Bid it a moment linger,
Too soon from winter's scowling eye.
The blackbird's song at even tide,
And hers, who gay ascends,
Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? St. Matthew xviii. 21.
WHAT liberty so glad and gay,
As where the mountain boy,
A prisoner lives in joy?
The dreary sounds of crowded earth,
The cries of camp or town,
Nor drew his visions down.
The snow-clad peaks of rosy light
That meet his morning view,
They bound in fancy too.
Two ways alone his roving eye
For aye may onward go, Or in the azure deep on high,
Or darksome mere below.
O blest restraint ! more blessed range !
Too soon the happy child
For life's seducing wild :
Too soon his alter'd day dreams shew
This earth a boundless space, With sun-bright pleasures to and fro
Sporting in joyous race :
While of his narrowing heart each year,
Heaven less and less will fill, Less keenly, through his grosser ear,
The tones of mercy thrill.
It must be so: else wherefore falls
The Saviour's voice unheard, While from His pardoning Cross He calls,
“() spare as I have spard ?"
By our own niggard rule we try
The hope to suppliants given; We mete out love, as if our eye
Saw to the end of heaven.
Yes, ransom'd sinner! wouldst thou know
How often to forgive,
Look where thou hop'st to live :
When thou hast told those isles of light,
And fancied all beyond, Whatever owns, in depth or height,
Creation's wondrous bond;
Then in their solemn pageant learn
Sweet mercy's praise to see: Their Lord resign'd them all, to earn
The bliss of pardoning thee.