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That dipped their pitchers in that spring, And lingered round its brink.
On-on-through woeful images
My spirit holds her way!
Death in each drooping flower she sees:
And oft the momentary breeze
Is singing of decay.
-So high upon the slender bough
Why hangs the crow her nest?
All undisturbed her young have lain
This spring-time in their nest;
Nor as they flew on tender wing
E'er fear'd the cross-bow or the sling.
Tame as the purpling turtle-dove,
That walks serene in human love,
The magpie hops from door to door;
And the hare, not fearing to be seen,
Doth gambol on the village-green
As on the lonely moor.
The few sheep wandering by the brook
Have all a dim neglected look,
Oft bleating in their dumb distress
On her their sweet dead shepherdess.
The horses pasturing through the range
Of gateless fields, all common now,
Free from the yoke enjoy the change,
To them a long long sabbath-sleep!
Then gathering in one thunderous band,
Across the wild they sweep,
Tossing the long hair from their eyes-
Till far the living whirlwind flies
As o'er the desert sand.
From human let their course is free-
No lonely angler down the lea
Invites the zephyr's breath-
And the beggar far away doth roam,
Preferring in his hovel-home
His penury to death.
On that green hedge a scattered row
Now weather-stained-once white as snow-
Of garments that have long been spread,
And now belong unto the dead,
Shroud-like proclaim to every eye,
"This is no place for charity!"
O blest are ye! unthinking creatures!
Rejoicing in your lowly natures
Ye dance round human tombs!
Where gladlier sings the mountain-lark
Than o'er the church-yard dim and dark!
Or where, than on the church-yard-wall,
From the wild rose-tree brighter fall
Her transitory blooms!
What is it to that lovely sky
If all her worshippers should die!
As happily her splendours play
On the grave where human forms decay,
As o'er the dewy turf of Morn,
Where the virgin, like a woodland Fay
On wings of joy was borne.
-Even now a soft and silvery haze
In the loveliness of happier days,
Ere rose the voice of weeping!
When incense-fires from every hearth
To heaven stole beautiful from earth.
Sweet Spire! that crownst the house of God!
To thee my spirit turns,
While through a cloud the softened light On thy yellow dial burns.
Ah, me! my bosom inly bleeds
To see the deep-worn path that leads
Unto that open gate!
In silent blackness it doth tell
How oft thy little sullen bell
Hath o'er the village toll'd its knell,
In beauty desolate.
Oft, wandering by myself at night,
Such spire hath risen in softened light
Before my gladdened eyes,-
And as I looked around to see
The village sleeping quietly
Beneath the quiet skies,-
Methought that 'mid her stars so bright,
The moon in placid mirth,
Was not in heaven a holier sight
Than God's house on the earth.
Sweet image! transient in my soul!
That very bell hath ceased to toll
When the grave receives its dead-
And the last time it slowly swung,
'Twas by a dying stripling rung
O'er the sexton's hoary head!
All silent now from cot or hall
Comes forth the sable funeral!
The Pastor is not there!
For yon sweet Manse now empty stands,
Nor in its walls will holier hands
Be e'er held up in prayer.
BESSY BELL AND MARY GRAY.
О нUSH'D be our souls as this Burial-ground!
And let our feet without a sound
Glide o'er the mournful clay;
For lo! two radiant Creatures flitting
O'er the grave-stones! now moveless sitting
On a low funeral mound! 'Tis day!
And, but that ghosts where'er they rove
Do in their breathless beauty love
The cold, the、wan, and the silent light
O'er the Church-yard shed by the Queen
Sure Sister-Shades were They!
-Of many 'tis the holy faith,
Ere from the dying frame
Departs the latest lingering breath,
Its earthly garb the same,
A shadowy Likeness still doth come,
A noiseless, pale-faced, beckoning Wraith
To call the stranger home!
Or, are ye Angels? who from bliss,
With dewy fall, unto our earth
On wings of Paradise descend,
The grave of Innocence to kiss,
And tears of an immortal birth
With human tears to blend!
Aye! there they sit! like earthly Creatures
With softer, sadder, fainter features!
A Halo round each head;
Fair Things whose earthly course is o'er,
And who bring from some far-distant shore
The beauty that on earth they wore,
With the silence of the dead.
The dream of Ghost and Angel fades, And I gaze upon two Orphan-Maids, Frail Creatures, doom'd to die! Spirits may be fair in their heavenly sleep, But sure when mortal Beings weep In tears a beauty lies more deep, The glimmering of mortality! Their aged Friend in slumber lies, And hath closed for an hour the only eyes That ever cheered their orphan-state, At the hour of birth left desolate! She sleeps! and now these Maids have come With mournful hearts to this mournful home, Led here by a pensive train
Of thoughts still brooding on the dead!
For they have watched the breast of pain
Till it moved not on its bed,
The lifeless lips together prest,
And many a ghastly body drest,
And framed the shroud for the corse of bone
That lay unheeded and alone,
When all its friends were dead and gone!
So they walk not to yon breezy mountain
To sit in the shade of its silvery fountain,
And 'mid that lofty air serene
Forget the dim and wailing scene
That spreads beneath their feet!
They walk not down yon fairy-stream
Whose liquid lapses sweet
Might wrap them in some happy dream
Of a pure, calm, far retreat,
As on that rivulet seems to flow,
Escaping from a world of Wo!
But this still realm is their delight,
And hither they repair
Communion with the dead to hold!
Peaceful, as at the fall of night,
Two little Lambkins gliding white
Return unto the gentle air
That sleeps within the fold.
Or like two Birds to their lonely nest,
Or wearied waves to their bay of rest,
Or fleecy clouds, when their race is run,
That hang, in their own beauty blest,
'Mid the calm that sanctifies the west
Around the setting Sun.
Phantoms! ye waken to mine eye Sweet trains of earthly imagery!
Whate'er on Nature's breast is found.
In loveliness without a sound,
That silent seems to soul and sense,
Emblem of perfect Innocence!
Two radiant dew-drops that repose
On mossy bank at evening's close,
And happy in the gentle weather,
In beauty disappear together;
Two flowers upon the lonesome moor,
When a dim day of storm is o'er,
Lifting up their yellow hair
To meet the balm of the slumbering air;
Two sea-birds from the troubled ocean
Floating with a snowy motion,
In the absence of the gale
Over a sweet inland-vale;
Two early-risen stars that lie
Together on the evening-sky,
And imperceptibly pursue
Their walk along the depths of blue.
-Sweet Beigns! on my dreams ye rise
With all your frail humanities!
Nor Earth below, nor Heaven above,
An image yields of Peace and Love,
So perfect as your pensive breath
That brings unsought a dream of death!
Each sigh more touching than the last,
Till life's pathetic tune be past!
THE grave is fill'd and the turf is spread
To grow together o'er the dead.
The little daisies bright and fair
Are looking up scarce injured there,
And one warm night of summer-dew
Will all their wonted smiles renew,
Restoring to its blooming rest
A soft couch for the sky-lark's breast.
The funeral-party, one by one
Have given their blessing and are gone—
Prepared themselves ere long to die,
A small, sad, silent company.
The orphans robed in spotless white
Yet linger in the holy ground,
And shed all o'er that peaceful mound
A radiance like the wan moonlight.
-Then from their mother's grave they glide
Out of the church-yard side by side.
Just at the gate they pause and turn —
I hear sad blended voices mourn
Mother, farewell!—the last endeavour
To send their souls back to the clay.
Then they hide their eyes—and walk away
From her grave-now and for ever!
Not till this parting invocation To their mother's buried breast, Had they felt the power of desolation! Long as she lived the village lay
Calm-unrepining in decay
For grief was its own consolation,
And death seem'd only rest.
-But now a dim and sullen breath
Hath character'd the face of death;
And tears, and sighs, and sobs, and wailing,
All round-o'er human joy prevailing―
Or 'mid the pausing fits of woe,
Wild silence, like a depth of snow
Shrouding in slumber stern and dull
The spring-fields late so beautiful,
Upon their fainting spirits press
With weight of utter hopelessness,
And drive them off, they heed not where,
So that oblivion's ebbless wave
May lie for ever on one grave,
One village of despair.
Faint with such spectacles of woe
Towards their solitary home
Across the village-green they go-
Eyeing the streamlet's murmuring flow,
Where melt away the specks of foam,
Like human creatures dying
'Mid their voyage down life's peaceful stream,
Upon the bosom of a dream
In thoughtless pleasure lying.
Calm reveries of composing grief!
Whose very sadness yields relief
To heart, and soul, and eye.
The Orphans look around-and lo!
How touching is that Lilac's glow,
Beneath the tall Laburnum's bow
That dazzling spans the sky!
That golden gleam-that gentle fire
Forces even anguish to admire ;
And gently cheers away distress
By the power of nature's loveliness.
From many a little garden steal
Odours that have been wasting long
A sweetness there was none to feel;
And from the hidden flowers a song
Of bees, in happy multitude
All busy in that solitude,
An image brings of all the strife
And gladness of superior life,
Till man seem, 'mid these insects blest,
A brother-insect hardly miss'd.
And bless its thatch and sheltering tree,
Then leave it everlastingly!
-On, on they go, in sorrow blind,
Yet with a still and gentle motion
That speaks the inner soul resign'd;
Like little billows o'er the ocean
Still flowing on with tide and wind,
And though the tempest smite their breast,
Reaching at last some bay of rest.
God bless them on their pilgrimage!
And may his hand divine
With healing dew their woes assuage,
When they have reach'd that silent shrine
By nature fram'd in the open air,
With soft turf for the knees of prayer,
And dome of many a pastoral hill
Lying in heaven serene and still;
For pilgrims ne'er to Sion went
More mournful, or more innocent,
Before the rueful Cross to lie
At midnight on Mount Calvary.
Two favourite sheep before them go-
Frisking around with pattering feet,
Each with its lambs of spotless snow
With peaceful eyes and happy bleat.
Happy! yet like a soft complaint!
As if at times the voice of sorrow
Through the hush'd air came breathing faint
From blessed things that fear no morrow.
-Each Shepherdess holds in her hand
A verdant crook of the willow-wand,
Wreath'd round with melancholy flowers
Gather'd 'mid the hills in happier hours.
In a small cage a thrush is sitting-
Or, restless as the light
That through his sunny prison plays,
From perch to perch each moment flitting,
His quick and glancing eye surveys
The novel trees and fields so bright,
And like a torrent gushing strong
He sends through heaven his sudden song,
A song that all dim thought destroys,
And breathes o'er all its own wild joys.
As on the Orphans hold their way Through the stillness of the dying day, Fairies might they seem who are returning,
They seize that transient calm; the door At the end of some allotted time,
Of their own cottage open stands—
Far lonelier than one hour before,
When they with weak and trembling hands
The head of that dear coffin bore
Into its darksome bed!
To them far drearier than the tomb,
The naked silence of the room
Deserted by the dead.
They kiss the dim and senseless walls,
Then hurry fast away;
Some sudden thought their feet recals,
And trifles urge their stay,
Till with the violence of despair
They rush into the open air,
Unto their own immortal clime!
Each bearing in its lovely hand
Some small memorial of the land
Where they, like common human frames,
And call'd by gentle Christian names,
For long had been sojourning!
Some little fair insensate thing,
Relic of that wild visiting!
Bird that beneath a brighter spring
Of its own vanish'd earth will sing;
Those harmless creatures that will glide
O'er faery-vales in earthly snow,
And from the faery-river's flow
Come forth more purely beautified.
And lo! a little maiden stands, With thistles in her tender hands,
Groupes of gay children too are there,
Stirring with mirth the silent air,
O'er all their eager eyes the light of laughter burning.
The Ass hath got his burthen still!
The merry elves the panniers fill;
Delighted there from side to side they swing:
The creature heeds nor shout nor call,
But jogs on careless of them all,
Whether in harmless sport they gaily strike
A gipsey-groupe! the secret wood
Stirs through its leafy solitude,
As wheels the dance to many a jocund tune;
Th' unpannier'd Ass slowly retires
From the brown tents, and sparkling fires,
And silently feeds on beneath the silent moon.
The Moon sits o'er the huge oak-tree,
More pensive 'mid this scene of glee
That mocks the hour of beauty and of rest;
The soul of all her softest rays
| On yonder placid creature plays,
As if she wish'd to cheer the hardship of
But now the silver moonbeams fade,
And, peeping through a flowery glade,
Hush'd as a wild-bird's nest, a cottage lies:
An Ass stands meek and patient there,
And by her side a spectre fair,
To drink the balmy cup once more before she dies.
With tenderest care the pitying dame
Supports the dying maiden's frame,
And strives with laughing looks her heart
While playful children crowd around
To catch her eye by smile or sound,
Unconscious of the doom that waits their
I feel this mournful dream impart
A holier image to my heart,
For oft doth grief to thoughts sublime give
Blest creature! through the solemn night,
I see thee bath'd in heavenly light,
Shed from that wondrous child-the Saviour
of the Earth.
When flying Herod's murd'rous rage, Thou on that wretched pilgrimage
Tempting with kindly words the colt to cat; Didst gently near the virgin-mother lie;
Or gently down before him lays, With words of solace and of praise,
On thee the humble Jesus sate,
When thousands rush'd to Salem's gate
Pluck'd from th' untrodden turf the herbage To see 'mid holy hymns the sinless man pass by.
The summer-sun is sinking down,
And the peasants from the market-town
With cheerful hearts are to their homes
Happy thou wert, nor low thy praise,
In peaceful patriarchal days,
When countless tents slow passed from land
Like clouds o'er heaven: the gentle race
Such quiet scene did meetly grace,
Circling the pastoral camp in many a state-
Poor wretch! my musing dream is o'er;
Thy shivering form I view once more,
And all the pains thy race is doom'd to prove;
But they whose thoughtful spirits see
The truth of life, will pause with me,
And bless thee in a voice of gentleness and
O GENTLE Sleep! wilt Thou lay thy head
For one little hour on thy Lover's bed,
And none but the silent stars of night
Shall witness be to our delight!
Alas! 'tis said that the Couch must be
Of the Eider-down that is spread for Thee,
So, I in my sorrow must lie alone,
For mine, sweet Sleep! is a Couch of stone.
Music to Thee, I know, is dear;
Then, the saddest of music is ever here,
For Grief sits with me in my cell,
And she is a Syren who singeth well.
But Thou, glad Sleep! lov'st gladsome airs,
And wilt only come to thy Lover's prayers
When the bells of merriment are ringing,
And bliss with liquid voice is singing.
Fair Sleep! so long in thy beauty wooed,
No Rival hast Thou in my solitude;
Be mine, my Love! and we two will lie
Embraced for ever-or awake to die!
While thus, with unresisted art,
The Enchantress melted every heart,
Amid the glance, the sigh, the smile,
Herself, unmoved and cold the while,
With inward pity eyed the scene,
Where all were subjects-she a Queen!
Again, I saw that Lady fair:
Oh! what a beauteous change was there!
In a sweet cottage of her own
She sat, and she was all alone,
Save a young child she sung to rest
On its soft bed, her fragrant breast.
With happy smiles and happy sighs,
She kiss'd the infant's closing eyes,
Then, o'er him in the cradle laid,
Moved her dear lips as if she pray'd.
She bless'd him in his father's name:
Lo! to her side that father came,
And, in a voice subdued and mild,
He bless'd the mother and her child.
I thought upon the proud saloon,
And that Enchantress Queen; but soon,
Far-off Art's fading pageant stole,
And Nature fill'd my thoughtful soul!
ART thou a thing of mortal birth,
Whose happy home is on our earth?
Does human blood with life embue
Those wandering veins of heavenly blue,
That stray along thy forehead fair,
Lost 'mid a gleam of golden hair?
Oh! can that light and airy breath
Steal from a being doom'd to death;
Those features to the grave be sent
In sleep thus mutely eloquent;
Or, art thou, what thy form would seem,
The phantom of a blessed dream?
I feel it, at my beating heart,
Dear Sleep! farewell!-hour,hour,hour,hour, A human shape I feel thou art,
Will slowly bring on the gleam of Morrow,
But Thou art Joy's faithful Paramour,
And lie wilt Thou not in the arms of Sorrow.
SYLPH-LIKE, and with a graceful pride,
I saw the wild Louisa glide
Along the dance's glittering row,
With footsteps soft as falling snow.
On all around her smiles she pour'd,
And though by all admired, adored,
She seem'd to hold the homage light,
And careless claim'd it as her right.
With syren-voice the Lady sung:
Love on her tones enraptured hung,
While timid awe and fond desire
Came blended from her witching lyre.
Those tremors both of soul and sense
Awoke by infant innocence!
Though dear the forms by fancy wove,
We love them with a transient love;
Thoughts from the living world intrude
Even on her deepest solitude:
But, lovely child! thy magic stole
At once into my inmost soul,
With feelings as thy beauty fair,
And left no other vision there.