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Heaven gives our years of fading strength

Indemnifying fleetness,
And those of youth a seeming length,

Proportioned to their sweetness.

Sentimental regrets for the loss of youth abound in poetry. Thus bitterly lamented the American poet, N. P. Willis :

I'm twenty-two—I'm twenty-two! They gaily give

me joy, As if I should be glad to hear that I was less a

boy; They do not know how, carelessly, their words have

given pain To one whose heart would leap to be a happy boy


A change has o'er my spirit pass'd: my mirthful

hours are few; The light is all departed now my early feelings

knew ; I used to love the morning grey, the twilight's quiet

deep, But now like shadows on the sea upon my thoughts

they creep.


And love was as a holy star when this brief year

was young, And whole worship of the sky on one sweet ray


was fung; But worldly things have come between and shut it

from my sight, And though that star shines purely yet, I mourn the

hidden light.

And fame !—I bent to it my knee, and bow'd to it

my brow,

And it is like a coal upon my living spirit now;
But when I pray'd for fire from heaven to touch

the soul I bow'd, I little thought the lightning flash would come in

such a cloud.

Ye give me joy! Is it because another year has

Aled; That I am farther from my youth and nearer to the

dead? Is it that manhood's cares are come —my happy

boyhood o'er? Because the visions I have loved will visit me no


Oh! wherefore give me joy, when I can smile no

welcome back? I've found no power, and seen no light, on man

hood's weary track. My love is deep, ambition deep, and heart and

mind will on, But love is fainting by the way, and fame consumes

ere won.

And this at two-and-twenty! Surely

He who mourneth day by day
That his youth doth pass away
Like the blossoms on the tree,
Sure an April-fool must be:
For the blossoms fade and die
That the tree may fruit supply:
So, youth Aed, we e'er should find
Fruitful wisdom left behind.

In Tennyson's “Maud ” we light upon a very common-sense view of these early repinings :

Ah, what shall I be at fifty,

Should nature keep me alive,
If I find the world so bitter

When I am but twenty-five ?

But who does not know that exaggeration of feeling and of sentiment are native to the poetic temperament? And there can be no doubt that rolling years bring painfully home to most of us, as to the Laureate, the fact that

There's somewhat in this world amiss,
Shall be unriddled by and by ;

though this same mysterious world he avers is gentle to the gentle :

The wind that beats the mountain, blows

More softly round the open wold,
And gently comes the world to those

That are cast in gentle mould.

It will be well now for early manhood to recall Dr. Doddridge's lines on his family motto, styled by Dr. Johnson “one of the finest epigrams in the English language":

Live while you live, the epicure would say,
And seize the pleasures of the present day.
Live while you live, the sacred preacher cries,
And give to God each moment as it flies.
Lord, in my views let both united be-
I live in pleasure when I live to Thee.

The transition from early to later birthdays can only be safely and happily made while relying on a superior power—a solemn truth that we are all prone to forget.

Weak and irresolute is man:

The purpose of to-day,
Woven with pains into his plan,

To-morrow sends away.
The bow well bent and smart the spring,

Vice seems already slain,
But passion rudely snaps the string,

And it revives again.
Some foe to his upright intent,

Finds out his weaker part,
Virtue engages his assent,

But pleasure wins his heart.
Bound on a voyage of awful length,

And dangers little known,
A stranger to superior strength,

Man vainly trusts his own.
But oars alone can ne'er prevail

To reach the distant coast;
The breath of heaven must swell the sail,

Or all the toil is lost.

How profound and absolute were Milton's reliance on and submission to the will of God appears in that most noble sonnet on his twenty-fourth birthday

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on its wing my three-and-twentieth year !
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th;

Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely happy spirits endu'th.
Yet, be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of

All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye.

Milton and other fine old poets took high ground in their views of human life, and its intimate dependence on the Creator; their solid basis being


My God, I heard this day
That none doth build a stately habitation,

But he that means to dwell therein:

What house more stately hath there been, Or can be, than is man?

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The stars have us to bed : Night draws the curtain which the sun withdraws;

Music and light attend our head. All things unto our flesh are kind

In their descent and being ; to our mind In their ascent and cause.

More servants wait on man
Than he'll take notice of. In every path
He treads down that which doth befriend him,

When sickness makes him pale and wan,
Oh, mighty! man is one world, and hath
Another to attend him.

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