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The scythe lies glittering in the dewy wreath
Of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers,
That yester morn bloom'd waving in the breeze.
The faintest sounds attract the ear,--the hum
Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,
The distant bleating midway up the hill.
Calmness seems thron'd on yon unmoving cloud.
To him who wanders o'er the upland leas,
The blackbird's note comes mellower from the dale,
And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark
Warbles his heaven-tun'd song; the lulling brook
Murmurs more gently down the deep-sunk glen;
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke
O'ermounts the mist, is heard, at intervals,
The voice of psalms, the simple song of praise.
With dovelike wings peace o'er yon village broods,
The dizzying mill-wheel rests; the anvil's din
Has ceas'd; all, all around is quietness.
But, chiefly, man the day of rest enjoys. Hail Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day. On other days, the man of toil is doom'd To eat his joyless bread lonely, the ground Both seat and board,-screen'd from the winter's cold And summer's heat, by neighbouring hedge or tree; But on this day, embosom'd in his home, ile shares the frugal meal with those he loves ; With those he loves he shares the heartfelt joy Of giving thanks to God, -not thanks of form, A word and a grimace, but reverently, With cover'd face and upward earnest eye.
Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day. The pale mechanic now has leave to breathe The morning air pure from the city's smoke, As wandering slowly up the river's bank, He meditates on him whose power he marks In each green tree that proudly spreads the bough, And in the tiny dew-bent flowers that bloom Around the roots; and while he thus surveys With elevated joy each rural charm, He hopes, (yet fears presumption in the hope), That heaven may be one Sabbath without end.
TRUE happiness had no localities,
No tones provincial, no peculiar garb,-
Where duty went, she went; with justice went,
And went with meekness, charity, and love.
Where'er a tear was dried ; a wounded heart
Bound up; a bruised spirit with the dew
Of sympathy anointed; or a pang
Of honest suffering sooth’d; or injury
Repeated oft, as oft by love forgiven ;-
Where'er an evil passion was subdued,
Or virtue's feeble embers nn'd; where'er
A sin was heartily abjur'd and left ;
Where'er a pious act was done, or breath'd
A pious prayer, or wish'd a pious wish-
There was a high and holy place, a spot
Of sacred light, a most religious fane,
Where Happiness descending—sat and smil'd.
XXIII.-CHRISTIAN FREEDOM. “He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,” Who first of all the bonds of Satan breaks ; Who breaks the bonds of sin ! and for his soul, In spite of fools, consulteth seriously; In spite of fashion, perseveres in good; In spite of wealth or poverty, upright; Who does as reason, not as fancy, bids ; Who hears temptation sing. and yet turns not Aside ; sees sin bedeck her flowery bed, And yet will not go up; feels at his heart The sword unsheath’d, yet will not sell the truth; Who, having power, has not the will to hurt; Who feels asham'd to be, or have, a slave; Who blush'd at nought but sin, fear'd nought but God; Who, finally, in strong integrity Of soul, midst want, or riches, or disgrace, Uplifted, calmly sat, and heard the waves Of stormy folly breaking at his feet, Now shrill with praise, now hoarse with foul reproach, And both despis’d sincerely ; seeking this Alone, the approbation of his God, Which still with conscience witness'd to his peaceThis, this is freedom, such as angels use, And kindred to the liberty of God.
All flesh is grass, and all its glory fades
Like the fair flower dishevelld in the wind ;
Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream:
The man we celebrate must find a tomb,
And we that worship him ignoble graves.
Nothing is proof against the general curse
Of vanity, that seizes all below.
The only amaranthine flower on earth
Is virtue; the only lasting treasure, truth.
But what is truth ? 'Twas Pilate's question put
To truth itself, that deign'd him no reply.
And wherefore? will not God impart his light
To them that ask it?-Freely—'tis his joy,
His glory, and his nature to impart:
But to the proud, uncandid, insincere,
Or negligent inquirer, not a spark.
What's that, which brings contempt upon a book
And him who writes it, though the style be neat,
The method clear, the argument exact ?
That makes a minister in holy things
The joy of many, and the dread of more,
His name a theme for praise and for reproach ?—
That, while it gives us worth in God's account,
Depreciates and undoes us in our own ?
What pearl is it that rich men cannot buy,
That learning is too proud to gather up;
But which the poor, and the despisd of all,
Seek and obtain, and often find unsought ?
Tell me and I will tell thee what is truth.
XXV.-THUNDER STORM. BEHOLD, slow-settling o'er the lurid grove, Unusual darkness broods; and growing, gains The full possession of the sky surcharg'd With wrathful vapour, from the secret beds, Where sleep the mineral generations, drawn. Thence nitre, sulphur, and the fiery spume Of fat bitumen, steaming on the day, With various-tinctur'd trains of latent flame, Pollute the sky, and in yon baleful cloud, A reddening gloom, a magazine of fate, Ferment; till by the touch ethereal rous'd, The dash of clouds, or irritating war Of fighting winds, while all is calm below, They furious spring. A boding silence reigns, Dread through the dun expanse ; save the dull sound That from the mountain, previous to the storm, Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood, And shakes the forest-leaf without a breath. Prone, to the lowest vale, the aërial tribes Descend : the tempest-loving raven scarce Dares wing the dubious dusk. In ruetul gaze
The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens
Cast a deploring eye; by man forsook,
Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast,
Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.
"Tis listening fear, and dumb amazement all;
When to the startled eye the sudden glance
Appears far south, eruptive through the cloud;
And following slower, in explosion vast,
The Thunder raises his tremendous voice.
At first, heard solemn o'er the verge of Heaven,
The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,
And rolls its awful burden on the wind,
The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more
The noise astounds; till over head a sheet
Of livid flame discloses wide; then shuts,
And opens wider; shuts, and opens still
Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze.
Follows the loosen'd aggravated roar,
Enlarging, deepening, mingling ; peal on peal
Crush'd horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.
Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail,
Or prone-descending rain. Wide-rent, the clouds
Pour a whole flood : and yet, its flame unquench’d,
The unconquerable lightning struggles through,
Ragged and fierce, or in red whirling balls,
And fires the mountains with redoubled rage.
Black from the stroke, above, the smouldering pine
Stands a sad shatter'd trunk; and, stretch'd below,
A lifeless group the blasted cattle lie;
Here the soft flocks, with that same harmless look
They wore alive, and ruminating still
In fancy's eye, and there the frowning bull,
And ox half-rais'd. Struck on the castle cliff,
The venerable tower and spiry fane
Resign their aged pride. The gloomy woods
Start at the flash, and from their deep recess,
Wide-flaming out, their trembling inmates shake.
Amid Carnarvon's mountains rages loud
The repercussive roar : with mighty crash,
Into the flashing deep, from the rude rocks
Of Penmanmaur heap'd hideous to the sky,
Tumble the smitten cliffs ; and Snowdown's peak,
Dissolving, instant yields his wintry load.
Far seen, the heights of heathy Cheviot blaze,
And Thulè bellows through her utmost isles.
XXVI.-HENRY IV.'s SOLILOQUY ON SLEEP.
How many thousands of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep !-O gentle sleep!
Nature's soft nurse! How have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down.
And steep my senses in forgetfulness ?
Why rather, Sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull’d with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god! Why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch
A watch-case to a common larum-bell?
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy mast,
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge ?
And, in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafʼning clamours in the slippery shrouds,
That, with the hurly, Death itself awakes ?
Canst thou, O partial Sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And, in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a King ?- Then, happy lowly clown !-
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
XXVII.-ADAM AND EVE'S DEPARTURE FROM
Thus Adam last replied:
“How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,
Measur'd this transient world, the race of time,
Till time stand fix'd ? beyond is all abyss,
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart;
Greatly in peace of thought, and have
fill Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain; Beyond which was my folly to aspire. Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best, And love with fear the only God; to walk As in his presence; ever to observe His providence; and on Him sole depend, Merciful over all His works, with good Still overcoming evil, and by small Accomplishing great things; by things deem'd weak Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise By simply meek; that suffering for truth's sake Is fortitude to highest victory,