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Summer ebbs; each day that follows
Is a reflux from on high,

Tending to the darksome hollows
Where the frosts of winter lie.

He who governs the creation,
In his providence, assigned
Such a gradual declination
To the life of human kind.

Yet we mark it not; fruits redden,
Fresh flowers blow as flowers have blown,
And the heart is loth to deaden
Hopes that she so long hath known.

Be thou wiser, youthful Maiden !
And when thy decline shall come,
Let not flowers, or boughs fruit-laden,
Hide the knowledge of thy doom.

Now, even now, ere wrapped in slumber, Fix thy thoughts upon the sea

That absorbs time, space, and number; Look towards Eternity!

Follow thou the flowing river

On whose breast are thither borne
All deceived, and each deceiver,
Through the gates of night and morn ;

Through the year's successive portals; Through the bounds which many a star Marks, not mindless of frail mortals, When his light returns from far.

Thus when thou with Time hast travelled
Toward the mighty gulf of things,
And the mazy stream unravelled

With thy best imaginings;

Think, if thou on beauty leanest,
Think how pitiful that stay,
Did not virtue give the meanest
Charms superior to decay.

Duty, like a strict preceptor,

Sometimes frowns, or seems to frown;

Choose her thistle for thy sceptre,
While thy brow youth's roses crown.

Grasp it,—if thou shrink and tremble,
Fairest damsel of the green,
Thou wilt lack the only symbol
That proclaims a genuine queen ;

And ensures those palms of honour
Which selected spirits wear,
Bending low before the donor,
Lord of heaven's unchanging year!

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