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The perfection of life does not depend on its length

It is not growing like a tree

In bulk, doth make men better be ;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, ,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear.

A lily of a day

Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night :

It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be.

Ben Jonson.

True, indeed, it is that Youth is not rich in time : it may be, poor. Part with it, as with money, sparing; pay No moment, but in purchase of its worth. And what it's worth ask death-beds: they can tell. Part with it as with life, reluctant; big With holy hope of nobler time to come.


And sound is that advice-
Love and time with reverence use,

Treat them like a parting friend,
Nor the golden gifts refuse

Which in youth sincere they send;
For each year their price is more,
And they less simple than before.

The earliest written birthday tribute in verse that we ever met with is by Mrs. Hemans. It was penned at the age of eight.

Clad in all their brightest green,
This day the verdant fields are seen;
The tuneful birds begin their lay,
To celebrate thy natal day.

The breeze is still, the sea is calm;
And the whole scene combines to charm;
The flowers revive this charming May,
Because it is thy natal day.

The sky is blue, the day serene,
And only pleasure now is seen ;
The rose, the pink, the tulip gay,
Combine to bless thy natal day.

Other tributes of a similar kind were written somewhat later by the same child-poetess :At thy approach, O sweet bewitching May,

Through every wood soft melodies resound; On silken wings Favonian breezes play,

And scatter bloom and fragrance all around. Yet not for these I hail thy gentle reign,

And rove enchanted through thy fairy bowers ; Not for thy warbled songs, thy zephyr train,

Nor all the incense of thy glowing flowers. For this to thee I pour the artless lay,

O lovely May ! thou goddess of the grove! With thee returns the smiling natal day

Of her who claims my fond, my filial love. Bright as thy sunbeams may it still appear,

Calm as thy skies, unclouded with a tear.



Ah! withering sorrow, wilt thou come,

And steal the roses of to-day,
Nor leave one lovely sweet to bloom,

And cheer us in this mournful May?
Oh yes, one blossom yet shall smile,

And filial childhood shall expand,
Maternal anguish to beguile,

And crown the wish affection planned.
Then oh! though withering sorrow come,

And steal the early birthday rose,
Let hope reserve one sweet to bloom,

Though storms its dewy leaves enclose.
Very beautiful are these verses by Thomas
Hood :-

Dear Fanny! nine long years ago,
While yet the morning sun was low,
And rosy with the eastern glow

The landscape smiled;
Whilst low'd the newly-waken'd herds-
Sweet as the early song of birds
I heard those first delightful words,

“Thou hast a child !”
Along with that uprising dew
Tears glisten’d in my eye, though few,
To hail a dawning quite as new

To me as time :
It was not sorrow—not annoy-
But like a happy maid, though coy,
With grief-like welcome, even joy

Forestalls its prime.

So may'st thou live, dear, many years,
In all the bliss that life endears,
Not without smiles, nor yet from tears

Too strictly kept:
When first thy infant littleness
I folded in my fond caress,
The greatest proof of happiness

Was this—I wept ! To the motherless, this poem, by Miss Landon, especially commends itself:

Thy birthday, my sweet sister!

What shall my offering be?
Here's the ripe grape from the vineyard,

And the roses from the tree.
But these are both too passing-

Fruits and flowers decay ;
The gift must be more lasting

I offer thee to-day.
Thy birthday, my sweet sister,

A sunny morn in spring;
But thy sweet eyes will sadden

At the mournful gift I bring.
It is your mother's picture ;

You are so like her now,

of tearful dimness
And grave and earnest brow.
Alas! my orphan sister,

You'll not recall the face,
Whose meek and lovely likeness

These treasured lines retrace.

Be like her, my sweet sister,

But less in face than mind;
I would you could remember

One so tender and so kind.
And keep this gentle monitor,

And when you kneel in prayer
Deem it an angel's eyes on you,

And a mother watches there.

I believe that she rejoices

In her darling child to-day ;
Heaven bless thee, my sweet sister!

It is all that I can say.

This is another anniversary poem by Miss Landon, addressed to a native of India :


TO ON HER THIRTEENTH BIRTHDAY. Oh, yet in the happiest season !

Oh, yet in thine hour of spring,
Like a flower in its opening beauty,

Like a bird on its sunniest wing,
Still thou art in the gladness of morning,

In the freshness of earliest May;
No mockery to thee are our wishes :

Many happy returns of the day!


Fair child of the East, may thy future

Be bright as the land of thy birth, Where the sky has the clearest, of sunlight

And the richest of roses have birth!
May the storms which sweep there in darkness,

Never roll o'er thy gentler way,
Nor cause to lament that we wish'd thee

Many happy returns of the day!

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