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And crawled into the well,
- yet there
Fell not, but dangled in mid air;
For from a fissure in the stone,
Which lined its sides, a bush had grown;
To this he clung with all his might,
From thence lamenting his sad plight.
He saw, what time he looked on high,
The beast's head perilously nigh
Ready to drag him back again;
He looked into the bottom then,
And there a dragon he espied,
Whose horrid jaws were yawning wide,
Agape to swallow him alive,
As soon as he should there arrive.
But as he hung two fears between,
A third by that poor wretch was seen;
For, where the bush by which he clung
Had from the broken wall outsprung,
He saw two mice precisely there,
One black, one white, a stealthy pair;-
He saw the black one and the white,
How at the root by turns they bite,
They gnaw, they pull, they dig; and still
The earth that held its fibres spill,
Which, as it rustling downward ran,
The dragon to look up began,
Watching how soon the shrub and all
Its burden would together fall.

The man in anguish, fear, despair,
Beleaguered, threatened everywhere,
In state of miserable doubt,

In vain for safety gazed about.
But as he looked around him so,
A twig he spied, and on it grow




Ripe berries from their laden stalk;
Then his desire he could not balk.
When these did once his eye engage,
He saw no more the camel's rage,
Nor dragon in the underground,
Nor game the busy mice had found.
The beast above might snort and blow,
The Dragon watch his prey below,
The mice gnaw near him as they pleased, -
The berries eagerly he seized;
They seemed to him right good to eat;
A dainty mouthful, welcome treat,
They brought him such a keen delight,
His danger was forgotten quite.

But who, you ask, is this vain man,
Who thus forget his terror can ?

Then learn, O friend, that man art thou!
Listen and I will tell thee how.

The dragon in the well beneath,
That is the yawning gulf of death.
The camel threatening overhead
Is life's perplexity and dread.
"T is thou who, life and death between,
Hangest on this world's sapling green;
And they who gnaw the root, the twain
Who thee and thy support would fain
Deliver unto death a prey,
These names the mice have, Night and Day.
From morn to evening gnaws the white,
And would the root unfasten quite ;
From evening till the morn comes back,
In deepest stillness gnaws the black;
And yet, in midst of these alarms,
The berry, Pleasure, has such charms,



That thou, the camel of life's woe,
That thou, the dragon death below,
That thou, the two mice, Night and Day,
And all forgettest, save the way
To get most berries in thy power,
And on the grave's cleft side devour.



By Grecian annals it remained untold,
But may be read in Eastern legend old,
How, when great Alexander died, he bade
That his two hands uncovered might be laid
Outside the bier, for men therewith to see-
Men who had seen him in his majesty-
That he had gone the common way of all,
And nothing now his own in death might call;
Nor of the treasures of two empires aught
Within those empty hands unto the grave had brought.


Ir was not, then, a poet's dream,
An idle vaunt of song,

Such as beneath the moon's soft gleam
On vacant fancies throng,

Which bids us see in heaven and earth,
In all fair things around,

Strong yearnings for a blest new birth
With sinless glories crowned;



Which bids us hear, at each sweet pause
From care and want and toil,
When dewy eve her curtain draws
Over the day's turmoil,

In the low chant of wakeful birds,
In the deep weltering flood,

In whispering leaves, these solemn words,"God made us all for good."

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And still it lasts: by day and night,
With one consenting voice,
All hymn thy glory, Lord, aright,
All worship and rejoice!

Man only mars the sweet accord,
O'erpowering with "harsh din "
The music of thy works and word,

Ill matched with grief and sin.

Sin is with man at morning break,
And through the livelong day
Deafens the ear that fain would wake
To Nature's simple lay.

But when eve's silent footfall steals
Along the eastern sky,
And one by one to earth reveals
Those purer fires on high,


When one by one each human sound
Dies on the awful ear,

Then Nature's voice no more is drowned,
She speaks, and we must hear.

Then pours she on the Christian heart
That warning still and deep,

At which high spirits of old would start
E'en from their pagan sleep,

Just guessing, through their murky blind,
Few, faint, and baffling sight,
Streaks of a brighter heaven behind
A cloudless depth of light.

Such thoughts, the wreck of Paradise,
Through many a dreary age,
Upbore whate'er of good and wise

Yet lived in bard or sage:

They marked what agonizing throes

Shook the great mother's womb ; But Reason's spells might not disclose The gracious birth to come;

Nor could the enchantress Hope forecast
God's secret love and power;

The travail-pangs of Earth must last
Till her appointed hour;

The hour that saw from opening heaven
Redeeming glory stream,

Beyond the summer hues of even,
Beyond the mid-day beam.


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