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They hear, soul-blushing, and repentant shed
Unwholesome thoughts in wholesome tears, and pour Their sin to earth, — and with low drooping head
Receive the solemn blessing, and implore Its grace - then soberly with chasten'd tread,
They meekly press towards the gusty door, With humbled eyes that go to graze upon The lowly grass - like him of Babylon.
The lowly grass !
O water-constant mind! Fast-ebbing holiness ! - soon-fading grace Of serious thought, as if the gushing wind
Through the low porch had wash'd it from the face For ever! - How they lift their eyes to find Old vanities.
Pride wins the very place Of meekness, like a bird, and flutters now With idle wings on the curl-conscious brow!
And lo! with eager looks they seek the way
Of old temptation at the lowly gate ; To feast on feathers, and on vain array,
And painted cheeks, and the rich glistering state Of jewel-sprinkled locks. — But where are they,
The graceless haughty ones that used to wait With lofty neck, and nods, and stiffen'd eye e ? None challenge the old homage bending by.
In vain they look for the ungracious bloom
Of rich apparel where it glow'd before, For Vanity has faded all to gloom,
And lofty Pride has stiffen'd to the core,
Set for a warning token evermore,
But shakes not sorrow under his grey hair ;
Nor stoops his back to the ungodly pair ;
Go smoothly breathing to the house of pray’r ;
And where two haughty maidens used to be,
In pride of plume, where plumy Death had trod, Trailing their gorgeous velvets wantonly,
Most unmeet pall, over the holy sod ;There, gentle stranger, thou may’st only see
Two sombre Peacocks. — Age, with sapient nod Marking the spot, still tarries to declare How they once lived, and wherefore they are there.