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REFLECTIONS ON THE YEAR 1848.
“Think, or think we not, time hurries on.”
NOTHER year has filedah! fled for ever! o Cold January's blast loud scowls again, Sweeping the bleak fields and the spated river,
Howling across the cheerless russet plain; Leafless and rueful o'er the tomb of Nature,
The trees like statues seem to sigh dismay; Insipid now the landscape's every feature,
And mute the woodland minstrels mellow lay; Blasted, enwrapt in universal death, The flowers no more bespangle sweet our path.
Another year has fled—sad thoughts recalling,
Thoughts Nature each revolving year renews; Truths ever on the heart impressive falling,
Hail, Nature, holy text-book of the Muse! Alone her homilies I love to ponder;
They have a power, a pathos, dear to me: How soothing to the soul the woods to wander,
And soar instinctive to the Deity! 'Tis here from man debasing folly flies-The gay grows serious, and the scoffer wise.
Another year has fled—who recognises
Not that close sympathy which Nature bears
To life-how eloquent she harmonizes
With all our sublunary vain affairs ? Our fondled hopes and joys, how frail and fleeting,
Fitful as gleams before the gathering storm; Or mark them mirrored, while the blast is beating,
Bright in the rainbow's evanescent form;
Another year has fled_how memory stranges,
Since hailed the sun its inauspicious birth, What thrilling dire vicissitudes and changes
Have swept and marred this melancholy earth, And mighty Europe to her centre shaken,
Thrones, dynasties, and tyrants overthrown, Nations convulsed, all law, restraint forsaken;
Vast cities with the dead and dying strewn, Whose shrivelled grandeur gloomy to this hour, Betrays Rebellion's dread unsparing power.
Another year has fled—still grave reflection,
Appalled as Nature, sorrows o'er the past, Which images to hallowed recollection
But scenes with lowering shadows overcast. Heaven o'er the earth, in holy indignation,
The phial of His vengeance dark hath shed; O’er Albion dear of death and desolation,
That subtle minister his wings hath spread; How many hearts and homes where summer smiled, Now miniature the howling wintry wild !
Another year has fled-oh! righteous Heaven,
When shall it cease to be regretted here, How many ties hath Fate asunder riven,
Associations to the bosom dear! How many hopes are blasted, idols broken, Sighs wrung, and tears from Nature's fount have
Our lonely desert hearths, alas ! behold;
Another year has fled-strange Thy forbearing,
Dread Power Divine ! imperilled though I be, Frail shadow of a shade, in mercy sparing,
Still thy omnipotence environs me, Over my folly and my frailty yearning,
With sympathy paternal year to year,
To duty, peace, and all that can endear
Another year has fled-on its monition,
My soul in gratitude and hope repose; While Pity's hands are open in contrition,
If sottish on a precipice to slumber,
Or in the merging bark while tempests blow, What better he who fails his days to number,
How soon the fated shaft may lay him low! Lord, what is man ļ and what is life -a dreamA visionary air-bell on the stream.
Another year has fled of our probation,
Another milestone passed upon the road, Conducting to perdition or salvation,
Self-chosen either—Belial or God, Hear or forbear-realities tremendous !
Soon must the judgment's awful scenes evolve, In pomp supreme, eternal and stupendous,
And Time expire, and Nature's self dissolve;
"The bell strikes one: we take no note of time,
But from its loss. To give it then a tongue,
THE clock strikes twelve !—with melancholy plea
And take in solitude a note of time-
The clock strikes twelve !-wrapt in a death-like
slumber, The gay, the busy world encircles me: Joy fails to charm, care ceases to encumber,
And silence reigns in sable livery, · Save the lone owl, which from yon frowning steep
In mournful requiem Nature seems to weep.
The clock strikes twelve !-night is the time for
weepingTo hallow with a holy tear the past, To sigh o'er memories oblivious sleeping,
Dear loves and hopes the grave alone could blast, And leave the bosom desolate to mourn, O’er bliss departed never to return.
The clock strikes twelve!—in this dark vale of sadness,
Since last it struck what changes have transpired ? How many hearts that glowed with love and gladness
Are, as the marble, cold and uninspired;
The clock strikes twelve ! -momentous contemplation!
Who knows, but Heaven, if e’er these ears again On earth may tingle with the like sensation !
To-morrow's boast, e'en with the best how vain ! What pledge, what guarantee has he for life, Environed by the battle's mortal strife ?