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And daily, in the conscious breast,
Your visitations are a test
And exercise of love. .
When some great change gives boundless scope
To an exulting nation's hope,
Oft, startled and made wise
By your low-breathed interpretings,
The simply-meek foretaste the springs
Of bitter contraries.
Ye daunt the proud array of war,
Pervade the lonely ocean far
As sail hath been unfurled ;
For dancers in the festive hall
What ghastly partners hath your call
Fetched from the shadowy world! "Tis said that warnings ye dispense, Emboldened by a keener sense ;
That men have lived for whom, With dread precision, ye made clear The hour that in a distant year
Should knell them to the tomb.
Unwelcome insight! Yet there are
Blest times when mystery is laid bare;
Truth shows a glorious face,
While on that isthmus which commands
The councils of both worlds she stands,
Sage Spirits! by your grace.
God, who instructs the brutes to scent
All changes of the element,
Whose wisdom fixed the scale
Of natures, for our wants provides
By higher, sometimes humbler, guides,
When lights of Reason fail.
THE PRIMROSE OF THE ROCK. A ROCK there is whose homely front
The passing traveller slights; Yet there the glowworms hang their lamps,
Like stars, at various heights:
And one coy primrose to that rock
The vernal breeze invites.
What hideous warfare hath been waged,
What kingdoms overthrown,
Since first I spied that primrose-tuft
And marked it for my own;
A lasting link in Nature's chain
From highest heaven let down!
The flowers, still faithful to the stems,
Their fellowship renew;
The stems are faithful to the root,
That worketh out of view;
And to the rock the root adheres
In every fibre true.
Close clings to earth the living rock,
Though threatening still to fall;
The earth is constant to her sphere;
And God upholds them all:
So blooms this lonely plant, nor dreads
Her annual funeral.
Here closed the meditative strain;
But air breathed soft that day, The hoary mountain-heights were cheered,
The sunny vale looked gay: And to the primrose of the rock
I gave this after-lay.
I sang, “Let myriads of bright flowers,
Like thee, in field and grove Revive unenvied--mightier far
Than tremblings that reprove Our vernal tendencies to hope
In God's redeeming love: “That love which changed, for wan disease,
For sorrow that had bent
O'er hopeless dust, for withered age,
Their moral element,
And turned the thistles of a curse
To types beneficent.
“Sin-blighted though we are, we too,
The reasoning sons of men, From one oblivious winter called
Shall rise, and breathe again; And in eternal summer lose
Our threescore years and ten.
“To humbleness of heart descends
This prescience from on high,
The faith that elevates the just,
Before and when they die;
And makes each soul a separate heaven,
A court for Deity.”
A FLOWER GARDEN. Tell me, ye zephyrs ! that unfold, While fluttering o'er this gay recess, Pinions that fanned the teeming mould Of Eden's blissful wilderness, Did only softly-stealing hours, There close the peaceful lives of flowers?
Say, when the moving creatures saw
All kinds commingled without fear,
Prevailed alike indulgent law
For the still growths that prosper here?
Did wanton fawn and kid forbear
The half-blown rose, the lily spare?
Or peeped they often from their beds
And prematurely disappeared,
Devoured like pleasure ere it spreads
A bosom to the sun endeared?
If such their harsh untimely doom,
It falls not here on bud or bloom.
All summer long the happy Eve
Of this fair spot her flowers may bind,
Nor e'er, with ruffled fancy, grieve,
From the next glance she casts, to find
That love for little things by fate
Is rendered vain as love for great.
Yet, where the guardian fence is wound,
So subtly is the eye beguiled
It sees not nor suspects a bound,
No more than in some forest wild;
Free as the light in semblance-crossed
Only by art in nature lost.
And, though the jealous turf refuse
By random footsteps to be pressed,
And feeds on never-sullied dews,
Ye, gentle breezes from the west,
With all the ministers of hope,
Are tempted to this sunny slope !
And hither throngs of birds resort:
Some, inmates lodged in shady nests,
Some, perched on stems of stately port
That nod to welcome transient guests; · While hare and leveret, seen at play,
Appear not more shut out than they.
Apt emblem (for reproof of pride)
This delicate enclosure shows
Of modest kindness, that would hide
The firm protection she bestows;
Of manners, like its viewless fence,
Ensuring peace to innocence.
Thus spake the moral muse—her wing
Abruptly spreading to depart,
She left that farewell offering,
Memento for some docile heart;
That may respect the good old age
When Fancy was Truth's willing page;
And Truth would skim the flowery glade,
Though entering but as Fancy's shade.
THE CORONET OF SNOWDROPS.
Who fancied what a pretty sight
This rock would be if edged around
With living snowdrops? circlet bright!
How glorious to this orchard-ground!
Who loved the little rock, and set
Upon its head this coronet ?
Was it the humour of a child?
Or rather of some lovesick maid,
Whose brows, the day that she was styled
The shepherd queen, were thus arrayed?
Of man mature, or matron sage?
Or old man toying with his age?