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Poet he, that would have been
A Christian Poet if he could,-
One that felt far more, I ween,
Than he ever understood,-
One that only wanted telling
The truth that in his heart was dwelling.
Blandusian Fount ! I know not thee,
And learned critics much are troubled, To find, if yet a stream there be,
Where, long of yore, thy waters bubbled, And I could almost wish there were not, Since all who loved thee dearly are not.
The barren rocks are still the same
The fertile streams are changing ever,
So, lives, in nature's endless fame,
The Carthaginian's vain endeavour -
But, Horace, we can only guess
The sweet home of thy happiness.
Yet fare thee well, thou lovely spring,
And never may thy nymphs desert thee, For while one Bard on earth may sing,
Not all the powers of earth can hurt thee: And tho' no lamb to thee we give, Blest shalt thou be as long as lambkins live.
WRITTEN IN JANUARY, 1833.
The old year is gone—so uncivil was I,
That I made not a couplet to bid him good bye,
But now that the new year is fairly come in,
Not to bid him a welcome, were surely a sin-
So welcome I bid him, tho' not to myself,
Yet to all who are wealthy in hope or in pelf,
All hearty good fellows to whom life is dear,
I heartily wish you a happy new year.
To the man, who is fit to be married, a wife,
And a grave unto him that is tired of life.
To my friends, that they may not have much to forgive,
To my foes, that they just may forget that I live,
To my love—that her charms may to her be a blessing,
Tho' to me I confess, they are rather distressing-
For the man of her choice may good fortune await him,
And then—why, I'll try very hard not to hate him.
Even as the wise astronomer invents
Zones, colures, cycles, in the trackless sky-
Or as the mariner, whose daring art
Maps out the undistinguishable main
With curious lines, that, to the mind untaught,
Seem all mysterious as a wizard's scheme,
Or the fine traces in a lady's palm,
Interpreted by Egypt's wandering brood,-
So man delights in the wide waste of time,
The tide of moments ebbing as they flow,
To set his land-marks; and recording names,
Pavilions of the pausing memory,
Historic pillars, quaintly sculptured o’er
With hieroglyphics of the heart.
In the memorial list of holy times,
Is that permitted epoch of pure mirth-
A good man's birth-day-when the very poor
Pour forth the savings of the stinted meal
To make one hour rejoice in wealth of joy :-
Then long of yore, when duty seem'd to frown,
And love parental wore a brow severe,
And children trembled in their father's eyes,
The sternest sires were not afraid to smile,
And doff’d their honest, sage hypocrisy,
Because the birth-day came but once a year.
And those whom fortune, choice, or chance have cast
On the wild billows of the changeful world,
Tho' haply wandering amid Afric sands,
Or wedg’d in thundering straits of “ thick-ribb’d ice,”
Or lost in the dark city's wilderness,
Will find their hearts at home, when annual comes
The merry birth-day,—and recall the hours,
The vernal hours, when life itself was bliss,
And every birth-day a new argument
Of hope and pride.
Alas! too oft the day
Remains a hollow cenotaph of Hope,
When Hope is dead and gone. The worst-
The worst of hearts, that hath not ceased to feel,
Grows soft and childish, when the number'd hour
Records the moment of a mother's pain-
When the faint mother lifted first her eyes
To Heaven in thankfulness-then cast them down
Upon her babe in love.—Oh, gracious Heaven !
Thy mighty law-in spite of rebel will,
Spite of all theories of doubting man-
Still rules triumphant through the tribes of life,
Confutes the quirks of calculating pride,
And, o’er the feeblest of all feeble things,
Sheds the strong potency of love divine:
For God is stirring in the mother's heart-
The living God is in her milky breast-
And God's own image, fresh from paradise,
Hallows the helpless form of infancy.
Oh that the God, the same all bounteous Lord That aids the mother in her agony, Would save her from the feller pangs, that oft From love, the sweetest and the holiest love, Extract all sweetness and all self-esteem, Making the image of the child beloved Like a foul phantom, that pollutes the soul,A spell, a bondage, a continued fear, A slow consuming fever of the heart, In sorrow's gloomy creed, almost a sin. Fain would the shame-struck parent tear away The once glad epoch from the calendar, The birth-day of the graceless prodigal, Whose name, forbidden, leaves a blank deform’d In household records, and familiar feasts, Breeding sharp envy of that parent's lot Whose tear was dropp'd upon an infant's grave.
Or if the birth-day bring no thought of shame,
It rarely comes without a drop of woe,
That checks the gay laugh with a sudden sigh.
But these are gracious griefs. For all ’tis good,
Whose taste of goodness is not lost—though sore
May be the thought—to measure back their course
Oft as the birth-day comes.
Launch'd on the perilous sea of human life,
Awhile we paddle by the sunny shores,
The native shores of homely infancy.