Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

THE COMMONWEALTH OF BEES.

115

And utter now and then an awful voice,
But had a blessing in its darkest frown,
Threat’ning at once and nourishing the plant.
We lov’d, but not enough, the gentle hand
That reared 118. At a thoughtless age, allured
By every gilded folly, we renounc'd
His shelt'ring side, and wistfully forewent
That converse which we now in vain regret.
How gladly would the man recall to life
The boy's neglected sire! A mother too,
The softer friend, perhaps more gladly still,
Might he demand them at the gates of death.
Sorrow has, since they went, subdued and tamed
The playful humour; he could now endure,
(Himself grown sober in the vale of tears),
And feel a parent's presence no restraint.
But not to understand a treasure's worth
Till time has stol'n away the slighted good,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the world the wilderness it is.
The few that pray at all pray oft amiss,
And seeking grace t improve the prize they hold,
Would urge a wiser suit than asking more.

COW PER

THE COMMONWEALTH OF BEES.

So work the honey-bees : Creatures that, by a rule in nature, teach The art of order to a peopled kingdom.

116

TO MAY. They have a king, and officers of sorts, Where some, like magistrates, correct at home; Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad; Others, like soldiers, armèd in their stings, Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds ; Which pillage they with merry march bring home To the tent royal of their emperor ; Who, busied in his majesty, surveys The singing masons building roofs of gold ; The civil citizens kneading up the honey; The poor mechanic porters crowding in Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate; The sad-eyed justice, with his surly hum, Delivering o’er to executors pale The lazy yawning drone.

SHAKSPERB.

TO MAY.

Though many suns have risen and set

Since thou, blithe May, wert born,
And bards who hail'd thee may forget

Thy gifts, thy beauty scorn;
There are who to a birthday strain

Confine not harp and voice,
But evermore throughout thy reign

Are grateful, and rejoice.
Delicious odours; music sweet,

Too sweet to pass away;

[blocks in formation]

Oh, for a deathless song to meet

The soul's desire-a lay,
That, when a thousand years are told,

Should praise thee, genial power!
Through summer heat, autumpal cold,

And winter's dreariest hour.
Earth, sea, thy presence feel—nor less

(If yon ethereal blue
With its soft smile the truth express,)

The heavens have felt it too.
The inmost heart of man, if glad,

Partakes a livelier cheer ;
And eyes that cannot but be sad

Let fall a brighten’d tear.
Since thy return, through days and weeks

Of hope that grew by stealth,
How many wan and faded cheeks

Have kindled into health!
The old, by thee revived, have said,

“Another year is ours ;”.
And way-worn wanderers, poorly fed,

Have smiled upon thy flowers.
Who tripping lisps a merry song

Amid his playful peers ?
The tender infant, who was long

A prisoner of fond fears ;
But now, when every sharp-edged blast

Is quiet in its sheath,
His mother leaves him free to taste

Earth's sweetness in thy breath.

[blocks in formation]

Thy help is with the weed that creeps

Along the humblest ground;
No cliff so bare but on its steeps

Thy favours may be found;
But most on some peculiar nook

That our own hands have drest,
Thou and thy train are proud to look,

And seem to love it best.

And yet how pleased we wander forth

When May is whispering, “Come!
Choose from the bowers of virgin earth

The happiest for your home ;
Heaven's bounteous love through me is spread

From sunshine, clouds, winds, waves, -
Drops on the mouldering turret's head,

And on your turf-clad graves.”

WORDSWORTH,

ADVERSITY

Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,-
The seasons' difference ; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
E’en till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say,

VANITY OF HUMAN GREATNESS.

119

This is no flattery : these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running

brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.

SHAKSPERE.

VANITY OF HUMAN GREATNESS. FAREWELL, a long farewell to all my greatness ! This is the state of man : to-day he puts forth The tender leaves of hope ; to-morrow blossoms, And bears his blushing honours thick upon him ; The third day comes a frost, a killing frost; And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root, And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur'd, Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders, This many summers in a sea of glory, But far beyond my depth : my high-blown pride At length broke under me; and now hath left me, Weary and old with service, to the mercy Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me. Vain pomp and glory of the world, I hate ye ! I feel my heart new open'd. Oh, how wretched Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours !

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »