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With all its lovely images, was changed
To serious musing and to self-reproach.
Nor did we fail to see within ourselves
What need there is to be reserved in speech,
And temper all our thoughts with charity.
Therefore, unwilling to forget that day,
My friend, myself, and she who then received
The same admonishment, have called the place
By a memorial name, uncouth indeed
As e'er by mariner was given to bay
Or foreland, on a new-discovered coast;
And Point Rash Judgment is the name it bears.
WHERE will they stop, those breathing powers,
The spirits of the new-born flowers?
They wander with the breeze, they wind
Where'er the streams a passage find;
Up from their native ground they rise
In mute aërial harmonies;
From humble violet, modest thyme,
Exhaled, the essential odours climb,
As if no space below the sky
Their subtle flight could satisfy:
Heaven will not tax our thoughts with pride
If like ambition be their guide.
Roused by this kindliest of May-showers,
The spirit-quickener of the flowers,
That with moist virtue softly cleaves
The buds, and freshens the young leaves,
The birds pour forth their souls in notes,
Of rapture from a thousand throats,
Here checked by too impetuous haste,
While there the music runs to waste,
With bounty more and more enlarged,
Till the whole air is overcharged;
Give ear, O man! to their appeal,
And thirst for no inferior zeal,
Thou, who canst think, as well as feel.
Mount from the earth; aspire! aspire !
So pleads the town's cathedral choir,
In strains that from their solemn height
Sink, to attain a loftier flight:
While incense from the altar breathes
Rich fragrance in embodied wreaths;
Or, flung from swinging censer, shrouds
The taper lights, and curls in clouds.
Around angelic forms, the still
Creation of the painter's skill,
That on the service wait concealed
One moment, and the next revealed.
Cast off your bonds, awake, arise,
And for no transient ecstasies!
What else can mean the visual plea
Of still or moving imagery?
The iterated summons loud,
Not wasted on the attendant crowd,
Nor wholly lost upon the throng
Hurrying the busy streets along?
Alas! the sanctities combined By art to unsensualise the mind, Decay and languish ; or, as creeds And humours change, are spurned like weeds: The solemn rites, the awful forms, Founder amid fanatic storms; The priests are from their altars thrust, The temples levelled with the dust:
Yet evermore, through years renewed
In undisturbed vicissitude
Of seasons, balancing their flight
On the swift wings of day and night,
Kind Nature keeps a heavenly door
Wide open for the scattered poor.
Where flower-breathed incense to the skies
Is wafted in mute harmonies;
And ground fresh cloven by the plough
Is fragrant with a humbler vow;
Where birds and brooks from leafy dells
Chime forth unwearied canticles,
And vapours magnify and spread
The glory of the sun's bright head;
Still constant in her worship, still
Conforming to the almighty Will,
Whether men sow or reap the fields,
Her admonitions Nature yields;
That not by bread alone we live,
Or what a hand of flesh can give;
That every day should leave some part
Free for a sabbath of the heart;
So shall the seventh be truly blest,
From morn to eve, with hallowed rest.
EVENING VOLUNTARIES. Calm is the fragrant air, and loth to lose Day's grateful warmth, though moist with falling dews. Look for the stars, you 'll say that there are none; Look up a second time, and, one by one, You mark them twinkling out with silvery light, And wonder how they could elude the sight. The birds, of late so noisy in their bowers, Warbled awhile with faint and fainter powers,
But now are silent as the dim-seen flowers:
Nor does the village church-clock's iron tone
The times and season's influence disown;
Nine beats distinctly to each other bound
In drowsy sequence; how unlike the sound
That, in rough winter, oft inflicts a fear
On fireside listeners, doubting what they hear !
The shepherd, bent on rising with the sun,
Had closed his door before the day was done,
And now with thankful heart to bed doth creep,
And join his little children in their sleep.
The bat, lured forth where trees the lane o'ershade,
Flits and reflits along the close arcade;
Far-heard the dorhawk chases the white moth
With burring note, which Industry and Sloth
Might both be pleased with, for it suits them both.
Wheels and the tread of hoofs are heard no more:
One boat there was, but it will touch the shore
With the next dipping of its slackened oar;
Faint sound, that, for the gayest of the gay,
Might give to serious thought a moment's sway,
As a last token of man's toilsome day!
Not in the lucid intervals of life
That come but as a curse to party-strife;
Not in some hour when Pleasure with a sigh
Of languor puts his rosy garland by;
Not in the breathing-times of that poor slave
Who daily piles up wealth in Mammon's cave-
Is Nature felt, or can be; nor do words,
Which practised talent readily affords,
Prove that her hand has touched responsive chords;
Nor has her gentle beauty power to move
With genuine rapture and with fervent love
The soul of Genius, if he dare to take
Life's rule from passion craved for passion's sake;
Untaught that meekness is the cherished bent
Of all the truly great and all the innocent.
But who is innocent ? By grace divine,
Not otherwise, O Nature! we are thine ;
Through good and evil thine, in just degree
Of rational and manly sympathy.
To all that earth from pensive hearts is stealing,
And heaven is now to gladdened eyes revealing,
Add every charm the universe can show
Through every change its aspects undergo,
Care may be respited, but not repealed;
No perfect cure grows on that bounded field.
Vain is the pleasure, a false calm the peace,
If he, through whom alone our conflicts cease,
Our virtuous hopes without relapse advance,
Come not to speed the soul's deliverance;
To the distempered intellect refuse
His gracious help, or give what we abuse.
Soft as a cloud is yon blue ridge-the mere
Seems firm as solid crystal, breathless, clear,
And motionless; and, to the gazer's eye,
Deeper than ocean, in the immensity
Of its vague mountains and unreal sky!
But, from the process in that still retreat,
Turn to minuter changes at our feet;
Observe how dewy twilight has withdrawn
The crowd of daisies from the shaven lawn,
And has restored to view its tender green,
That, while the sun rode high, was lost beneath their