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Unchanging still from year to year,
Like stars returning in their sphere,
With undiminish'd rays,
Thy vernal constellations cheer
The dawn of lengthening days.
Perhaps from Nature's earliest May,
Imperishable 'midst decay,
Thy self-renewing race
Have breath'd their balmy lives away
In this neglected place.
And O, till Nature's final doom,
Here unmolested may they bloom,
From scythe and plough secure;
This bank their cradle and their tomb,
While earth and skies endure.
MINE be a cot beside the hill;
A bee-hive's hum shall sooth my ear;
A willowy brook, that turns a mill,
With many a fall, shall linger near.
The swallow oft beneath my thatch,
Shall twitter from her clay-built nest;
Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch,
And share my meal, a welcome guest.
Around my ivy'd porch shall spring
Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew;
And Lucy at her wheel shall sing
In russet gown and apron blue.
The village church, among the trees,
Where first our marriage-vows were given,
With merry peals shall swell the breeze,
And point with taper spire to heaven.
PITY FOR POOR LITTLE SWEEPS.
THE morn was dark, the wind was high,
With many a gusty swell,
And from the moonless, starless sky,
The rain in torrents fell:
An hour it was when sleep seem'd dear,
And wakefulness allied to fear.
'Tis pleasant, on a summer night,
From tranquil rest to wake,
And see the moonbeams' silvery light
In gentle glory break
Through opening clouds or leafy trees,
Whose whispers own the passing breeze.
And 'tis delightful, just as day
Illumes the eastern skies,
To hear the first bird's matin lay,
Or cock's shrill clarion rise;
To list with unclos'd eyes, and then
Gently to sink in sleep again.
But on a stormy winter morn,
When all is dark and drear,
When every sound, too, seems forlorn,
Which breaks upon the ear,-
If sleep be from the pillow gone,
The restless hours creep slowly on.
Such lot was mine, not long ago;
When to my ear was brought
A plaintive outcry, faint and low,
At first as faintly caught;
But soon the doleful whine of " Sweep!
Betray'd its source, and "murder'd sleep."
For who could sleep, while such a strain,
By childish accents pour'd,
Brought all its wretchedness and pain
To be by thought explor'd,
And fancy felt compell'd to range
Through sufferings varied, new, and strange?
The sea-boy, in the fearful din
Of wild waves crested white,
Constrain'd the topmast's height to win,
In some tempestuous night,-
His giddy, awful task may scan
With feelings worthy of a man.
The winds may rock him to and fro,
The thunder loudly rave;
The lightnings flash, the waves below
May yawn,- an opening grave;
Yet with him to his post may climb
The germs of sentiments sublime;
Of danger brav'd, of honour won
By confidence and skill;
Memories of feats by others done;
Proud hopes he may fulfil;
And cheering thoughts within may glow
Of messmates' watchful eyes below.
But thou, poor abject child! whose cry
Still haunts my memory's ear,
What can thy weary lot supply
The aching heart to cheer?
Poor outcast! what a doom is thine!
And nought, save fruitless pity, mine.
To brave the stormy winter's morn,
Half-naked, sparely fed;
Dark, dangerous labyrinths forlorn,
With limbs benumb'd, to thread;
To lead this life from day to day,
Of filth and misery the prey;
To have been train'd to such a course
By menaces and blows;
To follow it with pain, perforce,
Through all its varied woes;
A weary lot is thine, indeed,
Which, thus epitomis'd, can plead.
Yet thou, poor child! wast once, perchance, A widow's darling joy ;
Whose speaking smile, and sparkling glance, Dwelt fondly on her boy;
Whose heart for thee fram'd schemes of bliss, Whose lips press'd thine with many a kiss.
But she is dead! and thou art left
To live thy weary day;
Of friends, of parents, hope bereft,
With none to cheer thy way;
With none thy footsteps to reclaim
From ignorance, and vice, and shame.
What though to outward sight thou wear
The human form divine,
How desolate thy scanty share
Of what it should enshrine,-
Of all that is religion's fruit,
And raises man above the brute!
Yet hast thou an immortal soul,
For which a Saviour died;
And thou at Judgment's awful goal,
Thine audit must abide;
A solemn thought this, sure, should be
To those who now might rescue thee!
THE sky-lark hath perceiv'd his prison door
Unclos'd, for liberty the captive tries;
Puss eagerly hath watch'd him from the floor,
And in her grasp he flutters, pants, and dies.
Lucy's own puss, and Lucy's own dear bird,
Her foster'd favourites both for many a day, That which the tender-hearted girl preferr'd, She in her fondness knew not sooth to say.
For if the sky-lark's pipe were shrill and strong, And its rich tones the thrilling ear might please, Yet Pussybel could breathe a fireside song
As winning, when she lay on Lucy's knees.
Both knew her voice, and each alike would seek Her eye, her smile, her fondling touch to gain: How faintly then may words her sorrow speak, When by the one she sees the other slain.