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True as the needle, homeward points his heart,
Thro' all the horrors of the stormy main ;
This, the last wish that would with life depart,
To meet the smile of her he loves again.
When morn first faintly draws her silver line,
Or eve's gray cloud descends to drink the wave;
When sea and sky in midnight-darkness join,
Still, still he sees the parting look she gave.
Her gentle spirit, lightly hovering o'er,
Attends his little bark from pole to pole ;
And, when the beating billows round him roar,
Whispers sweet hope to soothe his troubled soul.
Carv'd is her name in many a spicy grove,
In many a plaintain-forest, waving wide ;
Where dusky youths in painted plumage rove,
And giant palms o'er-arch the golden tide.
But lo, at last he comes with crowded sail !
Lo, o'er the cliff what eager figures bend !
And hark, what mingled murmurs swell the gale!
In each he hears the welcome of a friend.
_ 'Tis she, 'tis she herself! she waves her hand !
Soou is the anchor cast, the canvass furld;
Soon thro' the whitening surge he springs to land,
And clasps the maid he singled from the world.
Day set on Norham's castle steep,
And Tweed's fair river broad and deep,
And Cheviot's mountains lone :
The battled towers, the donjon keep,
The loop-hole grates, where captives weep,
The flanking walls that round it sweep,
In yellow lustre shone.
The warriors on the turrets high,
Moving athwart the evening sky,
Seem'd forms of giant height:
Their armour, as it caught the rays,
Flash'd back again the western blaze,
In lines of dazzling light.
Saint George's banner, broad and gay,
Now faded, as the fading ray,
Less bright, and less, was flung ;
The evening gale had scarce the power
To wave it on the donjon tower,
So heavily it hung.
The scouts had parted on their search,
The castle gates were barr'd;
Above the gloomy portal arch,
Timing his footsteps to a march,
The warder kept his guard ;
Low humming, as he pac'd along,
Some ancient border gathering song.
The bright sun threw his glory all around,
And then the balmy, mild, autumnal breeze
Swept, with a musical and fitful sound,
Among the fading foliage of the trees;
And now and then, a playful gust would seize
Some falling leaf, and, like a living thing,
Which flits about wherever it may please,
It floated round in many an airy ring,
Till on the dewy grass it lost its transient wing.
TO A BUTTERFLY RESTING UPON A SKULL.
CREATURE of air and light, Emblem of that which cannot die,
Wilt thou not speed thy flight, To chase the south wind through the sunny sky ?
What lures thee thus to stay
With silence and decay,
Fix'd on the wreck of dull mortality ?
The thoughts once chamber'd there
Have gather'd up their treasures, and are gone:
Will the dust tell us where
They that have burst the prison-house are flown ?
Rise, nursling of the day,
If thou wouldst trace their way;
Earth has no voice to make the secret known.
Who seeks the vanish'd bird
By the forsaken nest and broken shell ?
Far hence he sings unheard,
Yet free and joyous, ʼmidst the woods to dwell.
Thou, of the sunshine born,
Take the bright wings of morn; Thy hope calls heavenward from yon ruin'd cell.
The tree of deepest root is found
Least willing still to quit the ground;
'Twas therefore said by ancient sages
That love of life increas'd with years,
So much, that in our latter stages,
When pains grow sharp, and sickness rages,
The greatest love of life appears.
This great affection to believe,
Which all confess, but few perceive,
If old assertions can't prevail,
Be pleas'd to hear a modern tale.
When sports went round, and all were gay, On neighbour Dobson's wedding day, Death call’d aside the jocund groom With him into another room, And looking grave,
“ You must,” says he, “ Quit your sweet bride, and come with me.” “ With you! and quit my Susan's side ? With you?" the hapless husband cried ; “ Young as I am, 'tis monstrous hard ! Besides, in truth, I'm not prepar'd; My thoughts on other matters go ; This is my wedding-day, you know."
What more he urg'd I have not heard,
His reasons could not well be stronger; So Death the poor delinquent spar'd,
And left to live a little longer. Yet, calling up a serious look, His hour-glass trembled while he spoke — “ Neighbour,” he said, “ farewell; no more Shall Death disturb your mirthful hour; And, farther, to avoid all blame Of cruelty upon my name, To give you time for preparation, And fit
for your future station,
Three several warnings you shall have
Before you're summon’d to the grave :
Willing, for once, I'll quit my prey,
And grant a kind reprieve,
In hopes you'll have no more to say,
But, when I call again this way,
Well pleas'd the world will leave.”
To these conditions both consented,
And parted perfectly contented.
What next the hero of our tale befell,
How long he liv’d, how wise, how well,
How roundly he pursued his course,
And smok’d his pipe, and strok'd his horse,
The willing Muse shall tell :
He chaffer'd, then, he bought, he sold,
Nor once perceiv'd his growing old,
Nor thought of Death as near ;
His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
Many his gains, his children few,
He pass'd his hours in peace.
But while he view'd his wealth increase,
While thus along life's dusty road
The beaten track content he trod,