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For that which makes us slaves ;-on sympathies
Which find no kindred objects in the plain
of common life--affections that aspire
In air too thin--and fancy's dewy film
Floating for rest; for even such delicate threads,
Gathered by fate's engrossing hand, supply
The eternal spindle whence she weaves the bond
Of cable strength in which our nature struggles !
Truth considered in itself, and in the effects natural to it, may be conceived as a gentle spring, or water source, warm from the genial earth, and breathing up into the snow drift that is piled over and around its outlet. It turns the obstacle into its own form and character, and as it makes its way, increases its stream. And should it be arrested in its course by a chilling season, it suffers delay, not loss, and waits only for a change in the wind to awaken again and roll onwards.
THE SCEPTIC.-MRS. HEMANS,
When the young eagle, with exulting eye,
Has learned to dare the splendor of the sky,
And leave the Alps beneath him in his course,
To bathe his crest in morn's empyreal source,
Will his free wing, from that majestic height,
Descend to follow some wild meteor's light,
Which far below, with evanescent fire,
Shines to delude, and dazzles to expire ?
No! still through clouds he wins his upward way,
And proudly claims his heritage of day!
-And shall the spirit, on whose ardent gaze
The day-spring from on high hath poured its blaze,
Turn from that pure effulgence, to the beam
Of earth-born light, that sheds a treacherous gleam,
Luring the wanderer from the star of faith,
To the deep valley of the shades of death?
What bright exchange, what treasure shall be given,
For the high birth-right of its hope in heaven?
If lost the gem which empires could not buy,
What yet remains ?--a dark eternity!
Is earth still Eden!-might a seraph guest,
Still, 'midst its chosen bowers delighted rest?
Is all so cloudless and so calm below,
We seek no fairer scenes than life can show?
That the cold sceptic in his pride elate,
Rejects the promise of a brighter state,
And leaves the rock, no tempest shall displace,
To rear his dwelling on the quicksand's base?
INSCRIPTION FOR A HERMIT'S CELL.-WORDSWORTH,
Hopes, what are they ?-Beads of morning
Strung on slender blades of grass ;
Or a spider's web adorning
In a strait and treacherous path.
What are fears but voices airy ?
Whispering harm where harm is not ;
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!
What is glory?-in the socket
See how dying tapers fare!
What is pride?-a whizzing rocket
That would emulate a star.
What is friendship?-do not trust her,
Nor the vows which she has made ;
Diamonds dart their brightest lustre
From a palsy-shaken head.
What is truth ?-a staff rejected;
Duty ?-an unwelcome clog;
Joy ?-a moon by fits reflected
In a swamp or watery bog;
Bright, as if through ether steering,
To the traveler's eye it shone :
He hath hailed it re-appearing-
And as quickly it is gone;
Gone, as if for ever hidden,
Or mis-shapen to the sight,
And by sullen weeds forbidden
To resume its native light.
What is youth ?-a dancing billow,
(Winds behind, and rocks before !)
Age?-a drooping, tottering willow
On a flat and lazy shore.
What is peace ?--when pain is over,
And love ceases to rebel,
Let the last faint sigh discover
That precedes the passing knell!
The ground of the human heart is thickly fraught with seeds. which never germinate under either a wintry, or a too fervent sky: but let the dew come gently on the ground, and let mild suns warm it, and let it be guarded against external rudeness, and we shall see spring up a garden of gaiety and fragrance. The Eden of human nature has indeed long ago been trampled down and desolated : storms waste it continually :-nevertheless the soil is rich with the germs of its pristine beauty ;-all the colors of Paradise are sleeping in the clods; and a little favor, a little protection, a little culture, shall show what once was there.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting i
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar.
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God who is our home.
TIME'S SOFTENING POWER.–ROGERS...
As the stern grandeur of a gothic tower
Awes not so deeply in its morning hour,
As when the shades of time serenely fall
On every broken arch and ivied wall;
The tender images we love to trace
Steal from each year a melancholy grace!
And as the sparks of social love expand ;
As the heart opens in a foreign land,
And with a brother's warmth, a brother's smile,
The stranger greets each native of his isle;
So scenes of life when present and confest,
Stamp but their bolder features on the breast;
Yet not an image when remotely viewed,
However trivial and however rude,
But wins the heart and wakes the social sigh,
With every claim of close affinity.
Ion, our sometime darling, whom we prized
As a stray gift, by bounteous heaven dismissed
From some bright sphere which sorrow may not cloud
To make the happy happier! Is he sent
To grapple with the miseries of this time,
Whose nature such ethereal aspect wears
As it would perish at the touch of wrong?
By no internal contest is he trained
For such hard duty; no emotions rude
Have his clear spirit vanquished; Love, the germ
Of his mild nature, hath spread graces forth,
Expanding with its progress, as the store
Of rainbow color which the seed conceals
Sheds out its tints from its dim treasury,
To flush and circle in the flower. No tear
Hath filled his eye save that of thoughtful joy
When, in the evening stillness, lovely things
Pressed on his soul too busily ; his voice,
If, in the earnestness of childish sports
Raised to the tone of anger, checked its force,
As if it feared to break its being's law,
And faltered into music ; when the forms
Of guilty passion have been made to live
In pictured speech, and others have waxed loud
In righteous indignation, he hath heard
With sceptic smile, or from a slender vein
Of goodness which surrounding gloom concealed,
Struck sunlight o'er it: so his life hath flowed
From its mysterious urn a sacred stream,
In whose calm depth the beautiful and pure
Alone are mirrored, which though shapes of ill
May hover around its surface, glides in light,
And takes no shadow from them.
It was a glorious day in autumn. The sky of unsullied blue glowed like a sapphire. The universal air was filled with stillness. Not a breeze whispered--not a bird flapped its wing. It was the triumph of repose--when the undying energies of man slumbered for a moment when even the conflict of his passions was suspended. Beautiful, melancholy autumn? whose ruddy ripeness whispers of decay; whose richest tints mingle with the “sere and yellow leaf,” as if the lusty year had toiled through youth and manhood for wealth, which overflows, just when waning life indicates that the power of enjoyment is passing away.
What is man's love? His vows are broke
Even while his parting kiss is warm,-
But woman's love all change will mock,
And like the ivy round the oak,
Clings closest in the storm.