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That dipped their pitchers in that spring, And lingered round its brink.
Ere rose the voice of weeping!
On-on-throngh woeful images My spirit holds her way! Death in each drooping flower she sees : And oft the momentary breeze Is singing of decay. --So high upon the slender bough Why hangs the crow her nest? All undisturbed her young have lain This spring-time in their nest; Nor as they flew on tender wing E'er fear'd the cross-bow or the sling. Tame as the purpling turtle-dove, That walks serene in human love, The magpie hops from door to door; And the hare, not fearing to be seen, Doth gambol' on the village-green As on the lonely moor. The few sheep wandering by the brook Have all a dim neglected Jook, Oft bleating in their dumb distress On her their sweet dead shepherdess. The horses pasturing through the range Of gateless fields, all common now, Free from the yoke enjoy the change, To them a long long sabbath-sleep! Then gathering in one thunderous band, Across the wild they sweep, Tossing the long hair from their eyes, Till far the living whirlwind flies As o'er the desert sand. From human let their course is freeNo lonely angler down the lea Invites the zephyr's breathAnd the beggar far away doth roam, Preferring in his hovel-home His penury to death. On that green hedge a scattered row Now weather-stained-once white as snowOf garments that have long been spread, And now belong unto the dead, Shroud-like proclaim to every eye, This is no place for charity!”
Sweet Spire! that crownst the house of
God! To thee my spirit turns, While through a cloud the softened light On thy yellow dial burns. Ah, me! my bosom inly bleeds To see the deep-worn path that leads Unto that open gate! In silent blackness it doth tell How oft thy little sullen bell Hath o'er the village toll'd its knell, In beauty desolate. Oft, wandering by myself at night, Such spire hath risen in softened light Before my gladdened eyes,And as I looked around to see The village sleeping quietly Beneath the quiet skies, Methought that 'mid her stars so bright, The moon in placid mirth, Was not in heaven a holier sight Than God's house on the earth. Sweet image! transient in my soul! That very bell hath ceased to tell When the grave receives its deadAnd the last time it slowly swung, 'Twas by a dying stripling rung O'er the sexton's hoary head ! All silent now from cot or hall Comes forth the sable faneral! The Pastor is not there! For yon sweet Manse now empty stands, Nor in its walls will holier hands Be e'er held up in prayer.
BESSY BELL AND MARY GRAY.
O blest are ye! unthinking creatures ! Rejoicing in your lowly natures Ye dance ronnd human tombs ! Where gladlier sings the mountain-lark Than o'er the church-yard dim and dark! Or where, than on the church-yard-wall, From the wild rose-tree brighter fall Her transitory blooms ! What is it to that lovely sky If all her worshippers should die! As happily her splendours play On the grave where human forms decay, As o'er the dewy turf of Morn, Where the virgin, like a woodland Fay On wings of joy was borne. -Even now a soft and silvery haze Hill-Village-Tree--is steeping In the loveliness of happier days,
O nush'd be our souls as this Burial-ground! And let our feet without a sound Glide o'er the mournful clay; For lo! two radiant Creatures flitting O'er the grave-stones! now moveless sitting On a low funeral mound ! 'Tis day! And, but that ghosts where'er they rove Do in their breathless beauty love The cold, the wan, and the silent light O'er the Churcb-yard shed by the Qucen
of Night, Sure Sister-Shades were They! -of many 'tis the holy faith, Ere from the dying frame Departs the latest lingering breath, Its earthly garb the same, A shadowy Likeness still doth come, A noiseless, pale-faced, beckoning Wraith To call the stranger home!
Or, are yc Angels ? who from bliss, Whate'er on Nature's breast is found. With dewy fall, unto our earth
In loveliness without a sound, On wings of Paradise descend,
That silent seems to soul and sense, The grave of Innocence to kiss,
Emblem of perfect Innocence! And tears of an immortal birth
Two radiant dew-drops that repose
On mossy bank at evening's close,
Two flowers upon the lonesome moor,
Two sea-birds from the troubled ocean
In the absence of the gale
Over a sweet inland-vale ;
Two early-risen stars that lie
Together on the evening-sky,
Their walk along the depths of blue. In tears a beauty lies more deep,
-Sweet Beigns! on my dreams ye rise The glimmering of mortality!
With all your frail humanities ! Their aged Friend in slumber lies,
Nor Earth below, nor Heaven above, And hath closed for an hour the only eyes An image yields of Peace and Love, That ever cheered their orphan-state,
So perfect as your pensive breath At the hour of birth left desolate!
That brings unsought a dream of death!
The grave is fill’d and the turf is spread
To grow together o'er the dead.
And one warm night of summer-dew
Will all their wonted smiles renew, That spreads beneath their feet !
Restoring to its blooming rest They walk not down yon fairy-stream
A soft couch for the sky-lark's breast. Whose liquid lapses sweet
The funeral-party, one by one Might wrap them in some happy dream
Have given their blessing and are goneOf a pure, calm, far: retreat,
Prepared themselves ere long to die, As on that rivulet seems to flow,
A small, sad, silent company. Escaping from a world of Wo!
The orphans robed in spotless white But this still realm is their delight,
Yet linger in the holy ground, And hither they repair
And shed all o'er thai peaceful mound Communion with the dead to hold !
A radiance like the wan moonlight. Peaceful, as at the fall of night,
- Then from their mother's grave they glide Two little Lambkins gliding white
Out of the church-yard side by side. Return into the gentle air
Just at the gate they pause and turn
I hear sad blended voices mouro
Mother, farewell the last endeavour Or wearied waves to their bay of rest,
To send their souls back to the clay. Or fleecy clouds, when their race is run,
Then they hide their eyes, and walk away That hang, in their own beauty blest,
From her grave-now and for ever! 'Mid the calm that sanctifies the west Around the setting Sun.
Not till this parting invocation
To their mother's buried breast. Phantoms! ye waken to mine eye Had they felt the power of desolation! Sweet trains of carthly imagery! Long as she lived the village lay
Calm-unrepining in decay
And bless its thatch and sheltering tree, For grief was its own consolation,
Then leave it everlastingly! And death seem'd only rest.
-On, on they go, in sorrow blind, -But now a dim and sullen breath
Yet with a still and gentle motion
That speaks the inner soul resignd;
And thongh the tempest smite their breast, Wild silence, like a depth of snow
Reaching at last some bay of rest.
God bless them on their pilgrimage!
And may his hand divine
With healing dew their woes assuage,
When they have reach'd that silent shrine
By nature fram'd in the open air,
With soft turf for the knees of prayer,
Lying in heaven serene and still;
For pilgrims ne'er to Sion went
More mournful, or more innocent, Across the village-green they go
Before the rueful Cross to lie Eyeing the streamlet's murmuring flow,
At midnight on Mount Calvary. Where melt away the specks of foam,
Two favourite sheep before them goLike human creatures dying
Each with its lambs of spotless snow Mid their voyage down life's peaceful stream, l'pon the bosom of a dream
Frisking around with pattering feet, In thoughtless pleasure lying.
With peaceful eyes and happy bleat. Calm reveries of composing grief!
Happy! yet like a soft complaint!
As if at times the voice of sorrow
Through the hush'd air came breathing faint
From blessed things that fear no morrow. The Orphans look around--and lo!
-Each Shepherdess holds in her hand How touching is that Lilac's glow,
A verdant crook of the willow-wand, Beneath the tall Laburnum's bow
Wreath'd round with melancholy flowers That dazzling spans the sky!
Gather'd 'mid the hills in happier hours. That golden gleam-that gentle fire
In a small cage a thrush is sittingForces even anguish to admire ;
Or, restless as the light
That through his sunny prison plays,
From perch to perch each moment flitting,
His quick and glancing eye surveys Odours that have been wasting long
The novel trees and fields so bright,
And like a torrent gushing strong.
He sends through heaven his sudden song, All busy in that solitude,
A song that all dim thought destroys,
And breathes o'er all its own wild joys. An image brings of all the strife And gladness of superior life, Till man seem, 'mid these insects blest, A brother-insect hardly miss'd.
As on the Orphans hold their way Through the stillness of the dying day,
Fairies might they seem who are returning, They seize that transient calm; the door At the end of some allotted time, Of their own cottage open stands
Unto their own immortal clime! Par lonelier than one hour before,
Each bearing in its lovely hand When they with weak and trembling hands Some small memorial of the land The head of that dear coffin bore
Where they, like common human frames, Coto its darksome bed!
And callid by gentle Christian names,
Some little fair insensate thing,
Relic of that wild visiting!
Of its own vanish'd earth will sing;
O’er faery-vales in earthly snow, Till with the violence of despair
And from the faery-river's flow They rush into the open air,
Come forth more purely beautified.
Now with a wild and mournful song Groupes of gay children too are there, The fair procession moves along,
Stirring with mirth the silent air, While by that tune so sweet
O'er all their eager eyes the light of laughter The little flock delighted press
burning. As if with human tenderness Around the singer's feet.
The Ass hath got his burthen still! Up-up the gentle slope they wind, The merry elves the panniers fill; Leaving the laughing flowers behind Delighted there from side to side they swing: That seem to court their stay.
The creature heeds nor shout nor call, One moment on the top they stand,
But jogs on careless of them all, At the wild-unfolding vale's command, Whether in harınless sport they gaily strike - Then down into that facry-land
or sing Dream-like they sink away!
A gipsey-groupe ! the secret wood
From the brown tents, and sparkling fires,
And silently feeds on beneath the silent moon. WRITTEN ON SEEING A PICTURE BY BERGHEM, OF AN ASS IN A STORM-SHOWER.
The Moon sits o'er the huge oak-tree,
More pensive 'mid this scene of glee Poor wretch! that blasted leafless tree, That mocks the hour of beauty and of rest; More frail and death-like even than thee, The soul of all her softest rays Can yield no shelter to thy shivering form; On yonder placid creature plays, The sleet, the rain, the wind of Heaven As if she wish'd to cheer the hardship of Full in thy face are coldly driven,
the opprest. As if thou wert alonc the object of the storm.
But now the silver moonbeams fade, Yet chill'd with cold, and drench'd with rain, And, peeping through a flowery glade, Mild creature! thou dost not complain
Hush'd as a wild-bird's nest, a cottage lies: By sound or look of these ungracious skies; An Ass stands meek and patient there, Calmly as if in friendly shed,
And by her side a spectre fair, There standst thou, with unmoving head,
To drink the balmy cup once more before
she dies. And a grave, patient meekness in thy half
With tenderest care the pitying dame Long could my thoughtful spirit gaze
Supports the dying maiden's frame,
And strives with laughing looks her heart On thee; nor am I loth to praise Him who in moral mood this image drew; While playful children crowd around
to cheer; And yet, methinks, that I could frame
To catch her eye by smile or sound, An image different, yet the same, More pleasing to the heart, and yet to Na- Unconscious of the doom that waits their ture true.
lady dear! Behold a Jane retired and green,
I feel this mournful dream impart
A holier image to my heart,
For oft doth grief to thoughts sublime give
birth : There is a browsing Ass espied,
Blest creature! through the solemn night, One colt is frisking by her side,
see thee bath'd in heavenly light, And one among her feet is safely stretch'd
Shed from that wondrous child--the Saviour in sleep.
of the Earth. And lo! a little maiden stands,
When flying Herod's murd'rous rage, With thistles in her tender hands, Tempting with kindly words the colt to eat; Didst gently near the virgin-mother lic;
Thou on that wretched pilgrimage Or gently down before him laye,
On thee the humble Jesus sate, With words of solace and of praise, Pluck'd from th' untrodden turf the herbage To see 'mid holyhymns the sinless man pass by
When thousands rush'd to Salem's gate
soft and sweet. The summer-sun is sinking down, Happy thou wert, nor low thy praise, And the peasants from the market-town In peaceful patriarchal days, With cheerful hearts are to their homes When countless tents slow passed from land returning ;
Like clouds o'er heaven : the gentlc race While thus, with unresisted art,
The Enchantress melted every heart,
Herself, unmoved and cold the while,
Where all were subjects—she a Queen!
Save a young child she sung to rest
Then, o'er him in the cradle laid,
Moved her dear lips as if she pray’d.
She bless'd him in his father's name: GENTLE Sleep! wilt Thou lay thy head Lo! to her side that father came, For one little hour on thy Lover's bed, And, in a voice subdued and mild, And none but the silent stars of night He bless'd the mother and her child. Shall witness be to our delight!
I thought upon the proud saloon,
And that Enchantress Queen; but soon,
TO A SLEEPING CHILD.
ART thou thing of mortal birth,
Whose happy home is on our earth? But Thoa, glad Sleep! lov'st gladsome airs, Does human blood with life embue And wilt only come to thy Lover's prayers Those wandering veins of heavenly blue, When the bells of merriment are ringing, That stray along thy forehead fair, And bliss with liquid voice is singing.
Lost 'mid a gleam of golden hair?
Oh! can that light and airy breath so long in thy beauty wooed, Steal from a being doom'd to death ; No Rival hast Thou in my solitude;
Those features to the grave be sent Be mine, my Love! and we two will lic In sleep thus mutely eloquent; Embraced for ever-or awake to die! Or, art thou, what thy form would seem,
The phantom of a blessed dream?
Though dear the forms by fancy wove,
Even on her deepest solitude:
But, lovely child! thy magic stole
At once into my inmost soul, SILPN-LIKE, and with a graceful pride, With feelings as thy beauty fair, I saw the wild Louisa glide
And left no other vision there. Along the dance's glittering row, With footsteps soft as falling snow. On all around her smiles she pour'd, To me thy parents are unknown! And though by all admired, adored, Glad would they be their child to own! She seem'd to hold the homage light, And well they must have loved before, Ind careless claim'd it as her right.
If since thy birth they loved not more. With syren-voice the Lady sung:
Thou art a branch of noble sten, Love on her tones enraptured hung, And, seeing thee, I figure them. While timid awe and fond desire
What many a childless one would give, Came blended from her witching lyre. If thou in their still home wouldst live!