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How passing wonder He, who made him such!
Who centred in our make such strange extremes !
From different natures marvellously mix'd,
Connexion exquisite of distant worlds!
Distinguish'd link in being's endless chain!
Midway from nothing to the Deity!
A beam etherial sullied and absorb'd!
Though sullied and dishonour'd, still divine
Dim miniature of greatness absolute!
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
Helpless immortal! insect infinite!
A worm! a God!-I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost! At home a stranger,
Thought wanders up and down, surprised, aghast,
And wond'ring at her own. How reason reels!
O, what a miracle to man is man!
Triumphantly distress'd! what joy, what dread!
Alternately transported and alarm'd!
What can preserve my life? or what destroy?
An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;
Legions of angels can't confine me there.
'Tis past conjecture; all things rise in proof:
While o'er my limbs sleep's soft dominion spread,
What, though my soul fantastic measures trod
O'er fairy fields; or mourn'd along the gloom
Of pathless woods; or down the craggy steep
Hurl'd headlong, swam with pain the mantled pool;
Or scaled the cliff; or danced on hollow winds,
With antic shapes, wild natives of the brain?
Her ceaseless flight, though devious, speaks her nature
Of subtler essence than the trodden clod;
Active, aerial, towering, unconfined,
Unfetter'd with her gross companion's fall.
Even silent night proclaims my soul immortal:
Even silent night proclaims eternal day.
For human weal, heaven husbands all events,
Dull sleep instructs, nor sport vain dreams in vain.
Why then their loss deplore, that are not lost?
Why wanders wretched thought their tombs around,
In infidel distress? Are angels there?
Slumbers, raked up in dust, etherial fire?
They live! they greatly live a life on earth,
Unkindled, unconceived; and from an eye
Of tenderness, let heavenly pity fall
On me, more justly number'd with the dead.
This is the desert, this the solitude:
How populous, how vital, is the grave!
This is creation's melancholy vault,
The vale funereal, the sad cypress gloom;
The land of apparitions, empty shades!
All, all on earth is shadow, all beyond
Is substance; the reverse is folly's creed:
How solid all, where change shall be no more!
This is the bud of being, the dim dawn,
The twilight of our day, the vestibule.
Life's theatre as yet is shut, and death,
Strong death alone can heave the massy bar,
This gross impediment of clay remove,
And make us embryos of existence free.
From real life, but little more remote
Is he, not yet a candidate for light
The future embryo, slumbering in his sire.
Embryos we must be, till we burst the shell,
Yon ambient, azure shell, and spring to life,
The life of Gods: O transport! and of man!
Yet man, fool man! here buries all his thoughts:
Inters celestial hopes without one sigh.
Prisoner of earth, and pent beneath the moon,
Here pinions all his wishes; winged by heaven
To fly at infinite; and reach it there,
Where seraphs gather immortality,
On Life's fair Tree, fast by the throne of God.
What golden joys ambrosial clustering aglow,
In His full beam, and ripen for the just,
Where momentary ages are no more!
Where time, and pain, and chance, and death expire!
And is it in the flight of threescore years,
To push eternity from human thought,
And smother souls immortal in the dust?
A soul immortal, spending all her fires,
Wasting her strength in strenuous idleness,
Thrown into tumult, raptured, or alarm'd,
At aught this scene can threaten, or indulge,
Resembles ocean into tempest wrought,
To waft a feather, or to drown a fly.
HE KNOWETH OUR FRAME: HE REMEMBERETH WE ARE
By DANA, an American Poet.
THOU, who didst form us with mysterious powers, Didst give a conscious soul, and call it ours, 'Tis thou alone who know'st the strife within ; Thou'lt kindly judge, nor name each weakness sin. Thou art not man, who only sees in part, Yet deals unsparing with a brother's heart; For thou look'st in upon the struggling throng That war-the good with ill-the weak with strong. And those thy hand hath wrought of finer frame, When grief o'erthrows the mind, thou wilt not blame. "It is enough!" thou'lt say, and pity show; "Thy pain shall turn to joy, thou child of woe!Thy heart find rest-thy dark mind clear away, And thou sit in the peace of heaven's calm day!"
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
THE shepherds went their hasty way,
And found the lowly stable-shed
Where the Virgin-Mother lay:
And now they check'd their eager tread,
For to the Babe, that at her bosom clung,
A mother's song the Virgin-Mother sung.
They told her how a glorious light,
Streaming from a heavenly throng,
Around them shone suspending night!
While, sweeter than a mother's song,
Bless'd angels heralded the Saviour's birth,
Glory to God on high! and peace on earth.
She listen'd to the tale divine,
And closer still the Babe she prest;
And while she cried, the Babe is mine!
The milk rush'd faster to her breast:
Joy rose within her, like a summer's morn;
Peace, peace on earth! the Prince of Peace is born.
Thou Mother of the Prince of Peace,
Peer, simple, and of low estate !
That strife should vanish, battle cease,
O, why should this thy soul elate:
Sweet Music's loudest note, the poet's story,
Did'st thou ne'er love to hear of Fame and Glory?
And is not War a youthful king,
A stately hero clad in mail?
Beneath his footsteps laurels spring;
Him earth's majestic monarchs hail
Their friend, their playmate! and his bold bright eye
Compels the maiden's love-confessing sigh.
"Tell this in some more courtly scene,
To maids and youths in robes of state!
I am a woman poor and mean,
And therefore is my soul elate.
War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled,
That from the aged father tears his child!
"A murderous fiend, by fiends adored,
He kills the sire, and starves the son;
The husband kills, and from her board
Steals all his widow's toil had won;
Plunders God's world of beauty; rends away
All safety from the night, all comfort from the day.
"Then wisely is my soul elate,
That strife should vanish, battle cease;
I'm poor and of a low estate,
The Mother of the Prince of Peace.
Joy rises in me, like a summer's morn:
Peace, peace on earth, the Prince of Peace is born."
By Professor WILSON, known as the Christopher North of Blackwood's Magazine.
A CLOUD lay cradled near the setting sun,
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow :
Long had I watch'd the glory moving on,
O'er the still radiance of the lake below:
Tranquil its spirit seem'd, and floated slow!
Even in its very motion there was rest;
While every breath of eve that chanced to blow,
Wafted the traveller to the beauteous west.
Emblem, methought, of the departed soul!
To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given :
And by the breath of mercy made to roll
Right onward to the golden gates of heaven,
Where, to the eye of faith, it peaceful lies,
And tells to man his glorious destinies.
By MARY HOWITT.
Mindful of the pious festivals which our church prescribes, I have sought to make these charming objects of floral nature, the time-pieces of my religious calendar, and the mementoes of the hastening period of my mortality. Thus I can light the taper to our Virgin Mother on the blowing of the white snow-drop, which opens its floweret at the time of Candlemas; the lady's smock, and the daffodil, remind me of the Annunciation: the blue harebell, of the Festival of St. George; the ranunculus, of the Invention of the Cross; the scarlet lychnis, of St. John the Baptist's day; the white lily, of the Visitation of our Lady; and the Virgin's bower, of her Assumption; and Michaelmas, Martinmas, Holyrood, and Christmas, have all their appropriate monitors. I learn the time of day from the shutting of the blossoms of the Star of Jerusalem and the Dandelion, and the hour of the night by the stars. A FRANCISCAN.
AH! simple-hearted piety,
In former days such flowers could see
The peasant, wending to his toil,
Beheld them deck the leafy soil
They sprung around his cottage door;
He saw them on the heathy moor;
Within the forest's twilight glade,
Where the wild deer its covert made;
In the green vale remote and still,
And gleaming on the ancient hill.
The days are distant now-gone by
With the old times of minstrelsy ;
When, all unblest with written lore,
Were treasured up traditions hoar;