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The larks chirp gaily and alight
Upon the new-born grass.
The bud its infant blossom yields,
The tree its leaves displays,
While on the crimson clover fields
The tranquil cattle graze.
The busy insect tribes are blest,
And murmuring thoughts are still,
Save man's-whose bosom knows no rest-
A slave to stubborn will.
Yes! man,-in whom few virtues glow,
On guilty pleasures bent,
To others and himself a foe,-
Destroys his own content.
To life-vain life, which quickly ends,
As Autumn's withering leaf,
And of itself to sorrow tends,
He adds ideal grief.
The ox is slaughter'd-slight the thrills
That wait his parting breath;
But man, by self-inflicted ills,
Dies many times ere death.
Oh! blest would be through every stage
Man's fleeting life on earth,
Were he, when stain'd with vice, more sage—
Had he, when sage, more worth.
Ah! were the human race but wise,
And would they reason well,
That earth would be a paradise-
Which folly makes a hell.
THE GENIUS OF DEATH.
WHAT is death? 'Tis to be free!
No more to love, or hope, or fear--
To join the great equality:
All alike are humble there!
The mighty grave
Wraps lord and slave;
Nor pride nor poverty dares come
Within that refuge-house, the tomb!
Spirit with the drooping wing,
And the ever-weeping eye,
Thou of all earth's kings art king!
Empires at thy footstool lie!
Beneath thee strew'd
Sink, like waves upon the shore;
Storms shall never rouse them more!
What's the grandeur of the earth
To the grandeur round thy throne!
Riches, glory, beauty, birth,
To thy kingdom all have gone.
Before thee stand
The wond'.ous band;
Bards, heroes, sages, side by side,
Who darken'd nations when they died!
Earth has hosts; but thou canst show
Many a million for her one;
Through thy gates the mortal flow
Has for countless years roll'd on:
Back from the tomb
There fix'd, till the last thunder's sound
Shall bid thy pris'ners be unbound!
WELCOME the hour of sweet repose,
The evening of the Sabbath day!
In peace my wearied eyes shall close
When I have tuned my vesper lay
In humble gratitude to Him
Who waked the morning's earliest beam.
In such an hour as this, how sweet,
In the calm solitude of even,
To hold with heaven communion meet,
Meet for a spirit bound to heaven;
And, in this wilderness beneath,
Pure zephyrs from above to breathe!
It may be that the Eternal Mind
Bends sometimes from His throne of bliss;
Where should we then His presence find,
But in an hour so blest as this-
An hour of calm tranquillity,
Silent, as if to welcome Thee?
Yes! if the Great Invisible,
Descending from His seat divine,
May deign upon this earth to dwell-
Where shall He find a welcome shrine,
But in the breast of man, who bears
His image, and His Spirit shares?
Now let the solemn thought pervade
My soul, and let my heart prepare
A throne:-Come, veil'd in awful shade,
Spirit of God! that I may dare
Hail Thee!--nor, like Thy prophet, be
Blinded by Thy bright majesty.
Then turn my wand'ring thoughts within,
To hold communion, Lord! with Thee;
And, purified from taint of sin
And earth's pollutions, let me see
Thine image,for a moment prove,
If not Thy majesty, Thy love→→
That love which over all is shed--
Shed on the worthless as the just;
Lighting the stars above our head,
And waking beauty out of dust:
And rolling in its glorious way
Beyond the farthest comet's ray.
To him alike the living stream
And the dull regions of the grave:
All watch'd, protected all, by Him,
Whose eye can see, whose arm can save,
In the cold midnight's dangerous gloom,
Or the dark prison of the tomb.
Thither we hasten-as the sand
Drops in the hour-glass, never still,
So, gather'd in by Death's rude hand,
The storehouse of the grave we fill;
And sleep in peace as safely kept
As when on earth we smiled or wept.
What is our duty here?-To tend
From good to better-thence to best:
Grateful to drink life's cup,then bend
Unmurmuring to our bed of rest;
To pluck the flowers that round us blow,
Scattering their fragrance as we go.
And so to live, that when the sun
Of our existence sinks in night,
Memorials sweet of mercies done
May 'shrine our names in Memory's light
And the blest seeds we scatter'd, bloom
A hundred fold in days to come.
TO THE COMET OF 1811.
How lovely is this wilder'd scene,
As twilight from her vaults so blue
Steals soft o'er Yarrow's mountains green
To sleep embalm'd in midnight dew!
All hail, ye hills, whose towering height,
Like shadows, scoops the yielding sky!
And thou, mysterious guest of night,
Dread traveler of immensity!
Stranger of Heaven! I bid thee hail!
Shred from the pall of glory riven,
That flashest in celestial gale,
Broad pennon of the King of Heaven!
Art thou the flag of woe and death,
From angel's ensign-staff unfurl'd?
Art thou the standard of his wrath
Waved o'er a sordid sinful world?
No, from that pure pellucid beam,
That erst o'er plains of Bethleh'm shone,
No latent evil we can deem,
Bright herald of the eternal throne!
Whate'er portends thy front of fire,
Thy streaming locks so lovely pale,—
Or peace to man, or judgments dire,
Stranger of Heaven, I bid thee hail!
Where hast thou roam'd these thousand years?
Why sought these polar paths again,
From wilderness of glowing spheres,
To fling thy vesture o'er the wain?
*It was reckoned by many that this was the same Comet hich appeared at the birth of our Saviour.