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For manhood's stormier hour 'tis sounding;
Athwart the thousand schemes which float,
The hopes which in his heart are bounding,
The cares which vex him and enthrall,
It throws a dark funereal pall.
A low and solemn dirge 'tis singing;
It sternly bids him disengage
Each hope, each thought, to earth that's clinging,
And opens to his waning eye
The grave where he so soon must lie.
The closing year would that it found
Youth, manhood, age but meet for glory!
Then little recks it whether crown'd
With budding rose, or tresses hoary,
years then will be
Merg'd in a bright eternity!
the eloquence of heaven,
When ev'ry cloud is from its slumber riven;
Who hath not paus'd beneath its hollow groan,
And felt Omnipotence around him thrown?
With what a gloom the ush'ring scene appears!
The leaves all flutt'ring with instinctive fears,
The waters curling with a fellow dread,
A breezeless fervour round creation spread,
And, last, the heavy rain's reluctant shower,
With big drops patt'ring on the tree and bower,
While wizard shapes the low'ring sky deform,
All meet the coming of the thunder-storm!
Oh! now to be alone, on some still height,
When heaven's black curtains shadow all the sight,
And watch the swollen clouds their bosom clash,
While fleet and far the living lightnings flash,—
To make the caverns of the sky disclose
The furnace flames that in their depths repose,
And see the fiery arrows fall and rise,
In dizzy chase along the rattling skies,—
How stirs the spirit while the echoes roll,
And God, in thunder, rocks from pole to pole.
FAIR tree of winter! fresh and flowering.
When all around is dead and dry;
Whose ruby buds, tho' storms are lowering,
Spread their white blossoms to the sky:
Green are thy leaves, more purely green
Through every changing period seen ;
And when the gaudy months are past,
Thy loveliest season is the last.
Be thou an emblem - thus unfolding
The history of that maiden's mind,
Whose eye, these humble lines beholding,
In them her future lot may find :
Through life's mutations may she be
A modest evergreen like thee:
Though bless'd in youth, in age more bless'd,
Still be her latest days the best.
WHEN red hath set the beamless sun,
Through heavy vapours dark and dun;
When the tir'd ploughman, dry and warm,
Hears, half asleep, the rising storm
Hurling the hail, and sleeting rain,
Against the casement's tinkling pane;
The sounds that drive wild deer and fox,
To shelter in the brake and rocks,
Are warnings which the shepherd ask
To dismal and to dangerous task.
Oft he looks forth, and hopes, in vain,
The blast may sink in mellowing rain ;
Till, dark above, and white below,
Decided drives the flaky snow,
And forth the hardy swain must go.
Long, with dejected look and whine,
To leave the hearth his dogs repine;
Whistling and cheering them to aid,
Around his back he wreathes the plaid:
His flock he gathers, and he guides
open downs and mountain sides,
Where, fiercest though the tempest blow,
Least deeply lies the drift below.
The blast, that whistles o'er the fells,
Stiffens his locks to icicles;
Oft he looks back, while, streaming far,
His cottage window seems a star;
Loses its feeble gleam, and then
Turns patient to the blast again,
And, facing to the tempest's sweep,
Drives through the gloom his lagging sheep.
If fails his heart, if his limbs fail,
Benumbing death is in the gale;
His paths, his landmarks, all unknown,
Close to the hut, no more his own,
Close to the aid he sought in vain,
The morn may see the stiffen'd swain:
His widow sees, at dawning pale,
His orphans raise their feeble wail;
And close behind him, in the snow,
Poor Yarrow, partner of their woe,
Couches upon his master's breast,
And licks his cheek to break his rest.
SOLDIER, go - but not to claim
Mouldering spoils of earth-born treasure, Not to build a vaunting name,
Not to dwell in tents of pleasure.
Dream not that the way is smooth,
Hope not that the thorns are roses;
Turn no wishful eye of youth
Where the sunny beam reposes;
Thou hast sterner work to do,
Hosts to cut thy passage through :
Close behind thee gulfs are burning
Forward! there is no returning.
Spreads the world her downy pillow; On the rock thy couch must be,
While around thee chafes the billow: Thine must be a watchful sleep,
Wearier than another's waking;
Such a change as thou dost keep
Brooks no moment of forsaking.
Sleep, as on the battle field,
- grasping sword and shield: Those thou canst not name nor number, Steal upon thy broken slumber.
Soldier, rise - the war is done:
Lo! the hosts of hell are flying;
'Twas thy Lord the battle won;
Jesus vanquish'd them by dying.
Pass the stream before thee lies
All the conquer'd land of glory;
Hark what songs of rapture rise,
These proclaim the victor's story.
Soldier, lay thy weapons down,
Quit the sword, and take the crown;
Triumph! all thy foes are banish'd
Death is slain, and earth has vanish'd.
ALAS for Peter! not a helping hand,
So was he hated, could he now command;
Alone he row'd his boat, alone he cast
His nets beside, or made his anchor fast;
Thus by himself compell'd to live each day, To wait for certain hours the tide's delay; At the same times the same dull views to see, The bounding marsh-bank and the blighted tree; The water only, when the tides were high,When low, the mud half-cover'd and half dry; The sun-burnt tar that blisters on the planks, And bank-side stakes in their uneven ranks; Heaps of entangled weeds that slowly float, As the tide rolls by the impeded boat.
When tides were neap, and, in the sultry day, Through the tall bounding mud-banks made their