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But now are silent as the dim-seen flowers:
Nor does the village church-clock's iron tone
The time's and season's influence disown;
Nine beats distinctly to each other bound
In drowsy sequence; how unlike the sound
That, in rorigh 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'ershailc,
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 moments 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Care may be respited, but not repealed;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 cense,
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
An emblem this of what the sober hour
Can do for mmds disposed to feel its power!
Thus oft, when we in vain have wished away
The petty pleasures of the garish day,
Meek eve shuts up the whole usurping host
(Unbashful dwarfs, each glittering at his post)
And leaves the disencumbered spirit free
To reassume a staid simplicity.
Tis well—but what are helps of time and place,
When wisdom stands in need of Nature's grace;
Why do good thoughts, invoked or not, descend,
Like angels from their bowers, our virtues to befriend;
If yet to-morrow, unbelied, may say,
"I come to open out, for fresh display,
The elastic vanities of yesterday?"
The sun, that seemed so mildly to retire.
Flung back from distant climes a streaming fire,
Whose blaze is now subdued to tender gleams,
Prelude of night's approach with soothing dreams.
Look round ;—of all the clouds not one is moving;
'Tis the still hour of thinking, feeling, loving.
Silent, and steadfast as the vaulted sky,
The boundless plain of water seems to lie:
Comes that low sound from breezes rustling o'er
The grass-crowned headland that conceals the shore!
No, 'tis the earth-voice of the mighty sea,
Whispering how meek and gentle he can be!
Thou Power supreme! who, arming to rebuke
Offenders, dost put off the gracious look,
And clothe thyself with terrors like the flood
Of ocean roused into his fiercest mood,
Whatever discipline thy will ordain
For the brief course that must for me remain;
Teach me with quick-eared spirit to rejoice
In admonitions of thy softest voice!
Whatever the path these mortal feet may trace,
Breathe through my soul the blessing of thy grace,
Clad, through a perfect love, a faith sincere
Drawn from the wisdom that begins with fear;
Glad to expand, and, for a season, free
From finite cares, to rest absorbed in thee!
THE LABOURERS' NOONDAY HYMN.
Up to the throne of God is borne
The voice of praise at early morn,
, And he accepts the punctual hymn
Sung as the light of day grows dim.
Nor will he turn his ear aside
From holy offerings at noontide:
Then here reposing let us raise
A song of gratitude and praise.
What though our burthen be not light,
We need not toil from morn till night;
The respite of the midday hour
Is in the thankful creature's power.
Blest are the moments, doubly blest,
That, drawn from this one hour of rest,
Are with a ready heart bestowed
Upon the service of our God!
Why should we crave a hallowed spot?
An altar is in each man's cot,
A church in every grove that spreads
Its living roof above our heads.
Look up to heaven! the industrious sun
Already half his race hath run;
He cannot halt nor go astray,
But our immortal spirits may.
Lord ! since his rising in the east,
If we have faltered or transgressed,
Guide, from thy love's abundant source,
What yet remains of this day's course:
Help with thy grace, through life's short day,
Our upward and our downward way;
And glorify for us the west,
When we shall sink to final rest.
INVOCATION TO THE EARTH.
"Rest, rest, perturbed earth!
Oh, rest, thou doleful mother of mankind!"
A spirit sang in tones more plaintive than the wind:
"From regions where no evil thing has birth
I come—thy stains to wash away,
Thy cherished fetters to unbind,
To open thy sad eyes upon a milder day.
The heavens are thronged with martyrs that have risen
From out thy noisome prison;
The penal caverns groan
With tens of thousands rent from off the tree
Of hopeful life, by battle's whirlwind blown
Into the deserts of eternity.
"Unpitied havoc! Victims unlamented! But not on high, where madness is resented, And murder causes some sad tears to flow, Though, from the widely-sweeping blow, The choirs of angels spread, triumphantly augmented.