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With hands uplifted on the breast,
In attitude of prayer :
Long-visaged, clad in armour, he
With ruffled arm and bodice she.
Set forth in order as they died,
Their numerous offspring bend,
Devoutly kneeling side by side,
As if they did intend
For past omissions to atone
By saying endless prayers in stone.
Those mellow days are past and dim,
But generations new
In regular descent from him
Have filled the stately pew,
And in the same succession go
To occupy the vaults below.
And now the polished modern Squire
And his gay train appear,
Who duly to the Hall retire
A season every year,
And fill the seats with belle and beau,
As 'twas so many years ago;
Perchance, all thoughtless, as they tread
The hollow-sounding floor,
Of that dark house of kindred dead,
Which shall, as heretofore,
In turn receive to silent rest
Another and another guest:
The feathered hearse and sable train,
In all their wonted state,
Shall wind along the village lane,
And stand before the gate,
Brought many a distant county through,
To join the final rendezvous.
And when the race is swept away,
All to their dusty beds,
Still shall the mellow evening ray
Shine gaily o'er their heads;
While other faces, fresh and new,
Shall fill the Squire's deserted pew.
Once a dream did weave a shade
O'er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.
Troubled, 'wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangled spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say :
“Oh, my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.'
Pitying, I dropped a tear :
But I saw a glowworm near,
Who replied, “What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?
'I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round.
Follow now the beetle's hum,
Little wanderer, hie thee home!'
I love to rise ere gleams the tardy light,
Winter's pale dawn; and as warm fires illume,
And cheerful tapers shine around the room,
Through misty windows bend my musing sight,
Where, round the dusky lawn, the mansions white 5
With shutters closed peer faintly through the gloom,
That slow recedes; while yon grey spires assume,
Rising from their dark pile, an added height
By indistinctness given—Then to decree
The grateful thoughts to God, ere they unfold
To friendship or the Muse, or seek with glee
Wisdom's rich page. O hours more worth than gold,
By whose blest use we lengthen life, and, free
From drear decays of age, outlive the old !
Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush,
That overhung a molehill large and round,
I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush
Sing hymns of rapture, while I drank the sound
With joy-and oft, an unintruding guest,
I watched her secret toils from day to day;
How true she warped the moss to form her nest,
And modelled it within with wood and clay.
And by and by, like heath-bells gilt with dew,
There lay her shining eggs as bright as flowers,
Ink-spotted over, shells of green and blue:
And there I witnessed in the summer hours
A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
Glad as the sunshine and the laughing sky.
O Time! who know'st a lenient hand to lay
Softest on sorrow's wound, and slowly thence,
Lulling to sad repose the weary sense,
The faint pang stealest unperceived away;
On thee I rest my only hope at last,
And think, when thou hast dried the bitter tear
That flows in vain o'er all my soul held dear,
I may look back on every sorrow past
And meet life's peaceful evening with a smile;
As some lone bird, at day's departing hour,
Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower
Forgetful, though its wings are wet the while;
Yet ah ! how much must that poor heart endure,
Which hopes from thee, and thee alone, a cure.
William Lisle Bowles.
FANCY IN NUBIBUS. Oh, it is pleasant, with a heart at ease, Just after sunset, or by nioonlight skies, To make the shifting clouds be what you please, Or let the easily-persuaded eyes Own each quaint likeness issuing from the mould 5 Of a friend's fancy; or, with head bent low, And cheek aslant, see rivers flow of gold, 'Twixt crimson banks; and then a traveller go From mount to mount, through Cloudland, gorgeous land! Or, listening to the tide with closed sight, Be that blind Bard, who on the Chian strand, By those deep sounds possessed with inward light, Beheld the Iliad and the Odyssee Rise to the swelling of the voiceful sea.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
It is a beauteous evening, calm and free ;
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration ; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven is on the sea :
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder-everlastingly.
Dear child ! dear girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear'st untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year ;
And worshipp’st at the temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.
I will not praise the often-flattered rose,
Or, virgin-like, with blushing charms half seen,
Or when, in dazzling splendour, like a queen,
All her magnificence of state she shows;
No, nor that nun-like lily which but blows
Beneath the valley's cool and shady screen ;
Nor yet the sun-flower, that with warrior mien
Still eyes the orb of glory where it glows;
But thou, neglected Wall-flower! to my breast
And Muse art dearest, wildest, sweetest flower!
To whom alone the privilege is given
Proudly to root thyself above the rest;
As Genius does, and from thy rocky tower
Lend fragrance to the purest breath of heaven.