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There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band—
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood's land?
There was woman's fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?
They sought a faith's pure shrine.
Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod!
They have left undimm'd what there they foundFreedom to worship God!
WHERE's the Blind Child, so admirably fair,
With guileless dimples, and with flaxen hair,
That waves in ev'ry breeze? he's often seen
Beside yon cottage wall, or on the green,
With others match'd in spirit and in size,
Health on their cheeks and rapture in their eyes;
That full expanse of voice, to childhood dear,
Soul of their sports, is duly cherish'd here;
And, hark! that laugh is his, that jovial cry;
He hears the ball and trundling hoop brush by,
And runs the giddy course with all his might,
A very child in every thing but sight;
With circumscrib'd but not abated pow'rs;
Play! the great object of his infant hours;
In many a game he takes a noisy part,
And shows the native gladness of his heart;
But soon he hears, on pleasure all intent,
The new suggestion and the quick assent;
The grove invites, delight thrills every breast
To leap the ditch and seek the downy nest
Away they start, leave balls and hoops behind,
And one companion leave the boy is blind!
His fancy paints their distant paths so gay,
That childish fortitude awhile gives way;
He feels his dreadful loss - yet short the pain,
Soon he resumes his cheerfulness again;
Pond'ring how best his moments to employ,
He sings his little songs of nameless joy,
Creeps on the warm green turf for many an hour,
And plucks by chance the white and yellow flow'r;
Smoothing their stems, while resting on his knees,
He binds a nosegay which he never sees;
Alone the homeward path then feels his way,
Lifting his brow against the shining day,
And, with a playful rapture round his eyes,
Presents a sighing parent with the prize.
BUT who the melodies of morn can tell?
The wild brook bubbling down the mountain side; The lowing herd; the sheep-fold's simple bell; The pipe of early shepherd, dim descried In the lone valley; echoing far and wide, The clamorous horn along the cliffs above; The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide; The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love, And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.
The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark;
Crown'd with her pail the tripping milkmaid sings; The whistling ploughman stalks afield; and hark! Down the rough slope the ponderous waggon rings; Through rustling corn the hare astonish'd springs; Slow tolls the village-clock the drowsy hour;
The partridge bursts away on whirring wings; Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower And shrill lark carols clear from her aërial tower
MILD offspring of a dark and sullen sire!
Whose modest form, so delicately fine,
Was nurs'd in whirling storms,
And cradled in the winds.
Thee, when young Spring first question'd Winter's sway,
And dar'd the sturdy blusterer to the fight,
Thee on this bank he threw
In this low vale, the promise of the year,
Serene, thou openest to the nipping gale,
Unnotic'd and alone,
Thy tender elegance.
So virtue blooms; brought forth amid the storms
Of chill adversity, in some lone walk
Of life she rears her head,
Obscure and unobserv'd;
While every bleaching breeze that on her blows, Chastens her spotless purity of breast,
And hardens her to bear
Serene the ills of life.
THEN died, lamented, in the strength of life,
A valued mother, and a faithful wife:
Call'd not away, when time had loos'd each hold
On the fond heart, and each desire grew cold;
But when, to all that knit us to our kind,
She felt fast bound, as charity can bind;
Not when the ills of age, its pain, its care,
The drooping spirit for its fate prepare;
And, each affection failing, leaves the heart
Loos'd from life's charm, and willing to depart :
But all her ties the strong invader broke,
In all their strength, by one tremendous stroke!
Sudden and swift the eager pest came on,
And terror grew, till every hope was gone;
Still those around appear'd for hope to seek!
But view'd the sick, and were afraid to speak.
Slowly they bore, with solemn step, the dead;
When grief grew loud, and bitter tears were shed,
My part began: a crowd drew near the place,
Awe in each eye, alarm in every face;
So swift the ill, and of so fierce a kind,
That fear with pity mingled in each mind;
Friends with the husband came, their griefs to blend;
For good-man Frankford was to all a friend.
The last-born boy they held above the bier ;
He knew not grief, but cries express'd his fear;
Each different age and sex reveal'd its pain,
In now a louder, now a lower strain:
While the meek father, listening to their tones,
Swell'd the full cadence of the grief by groans.
The elder sister strove her pangs to hide,
And soothing words to younger minds applied:
"Be still, be patient;" oft she strove to stay;
But fail'd as oft, and weeping turn'd away.
Curious and sad, upon the fresh-dug hill,
The village lads stood melancholy still;
And idle children, wandering to and fro,
As nature guided, took the tone of woe.
Arriv'd at home, how then they gaz'd around,
In every place where she-no more, was found:-
The seat at table she was wont to fill;
The fire-side chair, still set, but vacant still;
The garden-walks, a labour all her own;
The lattic'd bower, with trailing shrubs o'ergrown;
The Sunday pew she fill'd with all her race,
Each place of her's, was now a sacred place,
That, while it call'd up sorrows in the eyes,
Pierc'd the full heart, and forc'd them still to rise.
'Tis pleasant, by the cheerful hearth, to hear
Of tempests, and the dangers of the deep,
And pause at times, and feel that we are safe;
Then listen to the perilous tale again,
And, with an eager and suspended soul,
Woo terror to delight us. . . . But to hear
The roaring of the raging elements. . . .
To know all human skill, all human strength,
Avail not; . . . to look round, and only see
The mountain wave, incumbent with its weight
Of bursting waters, o'er the reeling bark, . . .