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It sheds a halo of repose
Around the wrecks of Time ;To beauty give the flaunting rose,
The wall-flower is sublime. Flower of the solitary place!
Gray ruin's golden crown!
That lendest melancholy grace
To haunts of old renown;
Thou mantlest o'er the battlement,
By strife or storm decay’d;
And fillest up each envious rent
Time's canker-tooth hath made.
Thy roots outspread the ramparts o'er,
Where, in war's stormy day,
The Douglases stood forth of yore,
In battle's grim array:
The clangour of the field is filed,
The beacon on the hill
No more through midnight blazes red-
But thou art blooming still !
Whither hath fled the choral band
That fill’d the abbey's nave?
Yon dark sepulchral yew-trees stand
O'er many a level grave;
In the belfry's crevices the dove
Her young brood nurseth well,
Whilst thou, lone flower, dost shed above
A sweet decaying smell.
In the season of the tulip cup,
When blossoins clothe the trees,
How sweet to throw the lattice up,
And scent thee on the breeze!
The butterfly is then abroad,
The bee is on the wing,
And on the hawthorn by the road
The linnets sit and sing.
Sweet wall-flower, sweet wall-flower!
Thou conjurest up to me
Full many a soft and sunny hour
Of boyhood's thoughtless glee,
When joy from out the daisies grew,
In woodland pastures green,
And summer skies were far more blue
Than since they e'er have been.
Now autumn's pensive voice is heard
Amid the yellow bowers,
The robin is the regal bird,
And thou the Queen of Flowers!
He sings on the laburnum trees,
Amid the twilight dim,
And Araby ne'er gave the breeze
Such scents as thou to him.
Rich is the pink, the lily gay,
The rose is summer's guest;
Bland are thy charms when these decay,
Of flowers, first, last, and best!
There may be gaudier on the bower,
And statelier on the tree,
But wall-flower, loved wall flower,
Thou art the flower for me!
THOUGHT IN A BALL-ROOM.
THE room is like the heaven of eve,
When round th' horizon seems to weave
A sea of clouds, whose bosoms heave
In floating beauty there.
Those fleecy phantoms—how they glide
In all the quietude of pride,
Moved by the gales of eventide
Along the sleeping flowers.!
Some crimson-edged, resplendent sail,
Some girdled with a ruby veil,
And others glowing brightly pale,
In plenitude of ease :
And so smiles now this rose-wreath'd room,
Where float along in braid and plume,
With cheeks that blush with virgin bloom,
The maidens of the night.
And yonder trips a blue-eyed troop,
Serenely tender, how they droop,
As graceful as a lily group
All languid with their bloom!
And near them glides a gentle pair
That toss their grape-like clustering hair,
As if their very ringlets were
Partakers of their joy.
Upon each cheek the blood-stream warms, While tinctured with their Paphian charms, The maidens twine their ivory arms
And circle through the dance. Like sunshine shivering on the lake, Their feet with dizzy motion shake, And down the dance their steps they take,
With heart-beams in their eye.
Then why amid the heaven of joy
Should dreams of dark’ning woe annoy,
Or thoughts of gloominess alloy
The elysium of the hour?
Alas! the scene will swiftly fade,
The music cease-depart the maid,
And chill-eyed day the room invade
With cold condemning cares
Some hearts will pine, and some will weep,
And many in their graves will sleep,
And every eye shall sorrow steep,
Ere we meet here again!
A thought like this will often swell
In gloom, upon each gladdening spell,
And thrill me, like the faint “farewell!"
In pleasure's wildest hour.
PASSAGE OF THE BERESINA.
“On with the cohorts,-on! A darkening cloud
Of Cossack lances hovers o'er the heights;
And hark the Russian thunder on the rear
Thins the retreating ranks.”
The haggard French,
Like summon'd spectres, facing toward their foes,
And goading on the lean and dying steeds
That totter 'neath their huge artillery,
Give desperate battle. Wrapt in volumed smoke
A dense and motley mass of hurried forms
Rush toward the Beresina. Soldiers mix
Undisciplined amid the feebler throng,
While from the rough ravines the rumbling cars
That bear the sick and wounded, with the spoils,
Torn rashly from red Moscow's sea of flame,
Line the steep banks. Chill'd with the endless shade
Of black pine-forests, where unslumbering winds
Make bitter music-every heart is sick
For the warm breath of its far, native vales,
Vine-clad and beautiful. Pale, meagre hands
Stretch'd forth in eager misery, implore
Quick passage o'er the flood. But there it rolls,
'Neath its ice-curtain, horrible and hoarse,
A fatal barrier 'gainst its country's foes.
The combat deepens. Lo! in one broad flash
The Russian sabre gleams, and the wild hoof
Treads out despairing life.
With maniac haste They throng the bridge, those fugitives of France, Reckless of all, save that last, desperate chanceRush, struggle, strive, the powerful thrust the weak, And crush the dying.
Hark! a thundering crash,
A cry of horror! Down the broken bridge
Sinks, and the wretched multitude plunge deep
’Neath the devouring tide. That piercing shriek
With which they took their farewell of the sky
Did haunt the living, as some doleful ghost
Troubleth the fever-dream. Some for a while,
With ice and death contending, sink and rise,
While some in wilder agony essay
To hold their footing on that tossing mass
Of miserable life, making their path
O'er palpitating bosoms. "Tis in vain!
The keen pang passes, and the satiate flood
Shuts silent o'er its prey.
The sever'd host
Stand gazing on each shore. The gulf—the dead
Forbid their union. One sad throng is warn'd
To Russia's dungeons, one with shivering haste
Spread o'er the wild, through
toil and pain to hew
Their many roads to death. From desert plains,
From sack'd and solitary villages
Gaunt Famine springs to seize them; Winter's wrath
Unresting day or night, with blast and storm,
And one eternal magazine of frost,
Smites the astonish'd victims.
God of Heaven! Warrest thou with France, that thus thine elements Do fight against her sons! Yet on they press, Stern, rigid, silent-every bosom steeld By the strong might of its own misery Against all sympathy of kindred ties. The brother on his fainting brother treadsFriend tears from friend the garment and the bread