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She passed away, like morning dew,
Before the sun was high,
So brief her time, she scarcely knew,
The meaning of a sigh.
As round the rose its soft perfume,
Sweet love around her floated ; Admired she grew—while mortal doom
Crept on, unfear'd, unnoted.
Love was her guardian Angel here,
But love to death resign’d her, Thoʻlove was kind, why should we fear,
But holy death is kinder ?
What is the life of man? From first to last,
Its only substance, the unbeing past !
The infant smiling in its sleep must dream
Of something past, before the vexing beam
Of daylight smote the unaccustom’d eye,
Ere the faint mother heard its first faint cry;
Lull'd in its rocking nest, it seeks in vain,
For what has been, and ne'er can be again.
The child, through every maze of wakening lore,
Hunts the huge shadow of what was before,
Sees his old toys in misty phantoms glide,
"Twixt hope and dim oblivion magnified ;
As oft on misty hills huge spectres run,
And stalk gigantic from the setting sun-
Still urging onward to the world unseen,
Yet wishing, hoping nought, but what has been.
But what has been ? But how, and when, and where?
Was there a time, when, wandering in the air,
The living spark existed, yet unnam’d,
Unfixt, unqualitied, unlaw'd, unclaim'd,
A drop of being, in the infinite sea,
Whose only duty, essence, was to be ?
Or must we seek it, where all things we find,
In the sole purpose of creative mind-
Or did it serve, in form of stone or plant,
Or weaving worm, or the wise politic ant,
Its weary bondage-ere the moment came,
When the weak spark should mount into a flame?
I LOVE thee-none may know how well,
And yet—I would not have thee love me,
To thy good heart 'twere very hell,
To love me dear, and not approve me.
Whate'er thou lov'st it is not thine,
But 'tis thyself—then sad it were, love,
If thou for every sin of mine,
Should weep, repent, mayhap, despair-love.
Then love me not—thou can'st not scorn ;
And mind—I do not bid thee hate me,
And if I die, oh, do not mourn,
But if I live, do new create me.
“'TIS SAD EXPERIENCE SPEAKS.”
THERE never was a blessing, or a curse,
So sweet, so cruel, as a knack of verse.
When the smug stripling finds the way to rhyme,
Glad as the wild bee ʼmid a bed of thyme.
With dulcet murmuring, all a summer's day,
With many a scrap of many a purposed lay-
Fitful, yet gentle, as a summer wind,
Pleased with himself, and pleased with all mankind,
Sure of the praise which partial friends bestow,
He breathes in bliss, if bliss may be below.
Pass some few years—and see where all will end.
The hireling scribe, estranged from every friend,
Or if one friend remain, 'tis one so brave,
He will not quit the wreck he cannot save,
The good man's pity, and the proud man's scorn,
The Muse’s vagabond, he roams forlorn-
Thought, wit, invention, tenderness have left him,
All wealth of mind, save empty rhyme, bereft him-
Yet write he must, for still he needs must eat-
Retail fantastic sorrow by the sheet-
Sing in his garret of the flowery grove,
And pinched with hunger, wail the woes of love-
Oh may all Christian souls while yet ’tis time,
Renounce the World, the Flesh, the Devil, and Rhyme.
NOT ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN THE AUTHOR's
SWEET vale, tho' I must leave
Thy green hills and thy waters,
Nor sing again at eve,
To charm thy winsome daughters,
Yet I shall fondly think of thee,
And thy fair maids will think of me,
When I am far away.
I'll think of thee, but not as men,
Who vex their souls with thinking, With feverish thirst, the reeky fen,
Of sluggard memory drinking, Nor shall thy maidens fair and free, With ought of sadness think of me,
The fairy lake, tho' still it seems,
Is evermore a-flowing,
A moment ends the silvery gleams
That flash as we are rowing.
Yet that smooth lake, as smooth shall flow,
And light oars flash, when gay youths' row,
When I am far away.