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To sit upon a hill, as I do now, -
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run ;
How many make the hour full complete;
How many hours bring about the day;
How many days will finish up the year;
How many years a mortal man may live.
When this is known, then to divide the times, –
So many hours must I tend my flock;
So many hours must I take my rest;
So many hours must I contemplate;
So many hours must I sport myself;
So many days my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks ere the poor fools will yean ;
So many years ere I shall shear the fleece:
Sominutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years,
Passed over to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah, whata life were this how sweet how lovely
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroidered canopy
To kings that fear their subjects' treachery
Sri Akespear E.
THE MEANS TO ATTAIN HAPPY LIFE.
MARTIAL, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find, -
The riches left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind,
The equal friend; no grudge, no strife; No charge of rule, nor governance;
A WINTER'S EVENING HYMN TO MY FIRE.
O Thou of home the guardian Lar,
And when our earth hath wandered far
Into the cold, and deep snow covers
The walks of our New England lovers,
Their sweet secluded evening-star !
'T was with thy rays the English Muse
Ripened her mild domestic hues:
'T was by thy slicker that she conned
The fireside wisdom that enrings
With light from heaven familiar things;
By thee she found the homely faith
In whose mild eyes thy comfort stay'th,
When Death, extinguishing his torch,
Gropes for the latch-string in the porch;
The love that wanders not beyond
His earliest nest, but sits and sings
While children smooth his patient wings:
Therefore with thee I love to read
Our brave old poets: at thy touch how stirs
Life in the withered words ! how swift recede
Time's shadows and how glows again
Through its dead mass the incandescent verse, .
As when upon the anvils of the brain
It glittering lay, cyclopically wrought
By the fast-throbbing hammers of the poet's
Thou murmurest, too, divinely stirred,
The aspirations unattained,
The rhythms so rathe and delicate,
They bent and strained
And broke, beneath the sombre weight
Of any airiest mortal word.
As who would say, “'Tis those, I ween,
Whom lifelong armor-chase makes lean
That win the laurel";
While the gray snow-storm, held aloof,
To softest outline rounds the roof,
Or the rude North with baffled strain
Shoulders the frost-starred window-pane !
Now the kind nymph to Bacchus borne
By Morpheus' daughter, she that seems
Gifted upon her natal morn
By him with fire, by her with dreams,.
Nicotia, dearer to the Muse
Than all the grapes' bewildering juice,
We worship, unforbid of thee;
And, as her incense floats and curls
In airy spires and wayward whirls,
Or poises on its tremulous stalk
A flower of frailest revery,
So winds and loiters, idly free,
The current of unguided talk,
Now laughter-rippled, and now caught
In smooth dark pools of deeper thought.
It wasnoon, and on flowers that languished around
In silence reposed the voluptuous bee;
Every leaf was at rest, and I heard not a sound
But the woodpecker tapping the hollow beech-
And “Here in this lone little wood,” I exclaimed, “With a maid who was lovely to soul and to eye, Who would blush when I praised her, and weep if I blamed, How blest could I live, and how calm could I die!
“By the shade of yon sumach, whose red berry dips In the gush of the fountain, how sweet to recline, And to know that I sighed upon innocent lips, Which had never been sighed on by any but
Inine !” Thomas MooRE. —o
HOME. FROM “THE TRAveller.”
BUT where to find that happiest spot below, Who can direct, when all pretend to know The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own; Extols the treasures of his stormy seas, And his long nights of revelry and ease : The naked negro, panting at the line, Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine, Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave, And thanks his gods for all the good they gave. Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam, His first, best country, ever is at home. And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare, And estimate the blessings which they share, Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find An equal portion dealt to all mankind; As different good, by art or nature given, To different nations makes their blessing even. Oliver GOLDSMITH.
POEMIS OF THE AFFECTIONS.
FILIAL AND FRATERNAL LOVE.
From “childe HARold.”
THERE is a dungeon in whose dim drear light
What do I gaze on 2 Nothing : look again
Two forms are slowly shadowed on my sight, —
Two insulated phantoms of the brain :
It is not so ; I see them full and plain, –
An old man and a female young and fair,
Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein
The blood is nectar: but what doth she there,
With her unmantled neck, and bosom white and
Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life,
Where on the heart and from the heart we took
Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife,
Blest into mother, in the innocent look,
Or even the piping cry of lips that brook
No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives
Man knows not, when from out its cradled nook
She sees her little bud put forth its leaves —
What may the fruit be yet? I know not— Cain
But here youth offers to old age the food, The milk of his own gift: it is her sire , To whom she renders back the debt of blood Born with her birth. No 1 he shall not expire While in those warm and lovely veins the fire Of health and holy feeling can provide Great Nature's Nile, whose deep stream rises higher Than Egypt's river; – from that gentle side Drink, drink and live, old man Heaven's realm holds no such tide.
The starry fable of the milky-way Has not thy story's purity; it is A constellation of a sweeter ray, And sacred Nature triumphs more in this Reverse of her decree, than in the abyss Where sparkle distant worlds:–0, holiest nurse ! No drop of that clear stream its way shall miss To thy sire's heart, replenishing its source With life, as our freed souls rejoin the universe. BYRON.
TO AUGUSTA. his sistER, AUGUSTA LEIGH.
My sister my sweet sister l if a name Dearer and purer were, it should be thine,
Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim
No tears, but tenderness to answer mine :
Go where l will, to me thou art the same, –
A loved regret which I would not resign.
There yet are two things in my destiny, -
A world to roam through, and a home with thee.
The first were nothing, — had I still the last,
It were the haven of my happiness;
But other claims and other ties thou hast,
And mine is not the wish to make them less.
A strange doom is thy father's son's, and past
Recalling, as it lies beyond redress;
Reversed for him our grandsire's fate of yore, —
He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore.
If my inheritance of storms hath been
In other elements, and on the rocks
Of perils, overlooked or unforeseen,
I have sustained my share of worldly shocks,
The fault was mine ; nor do I seek to screen
My errors with defensive paradox;
I have been cunning in mine overthrow,
The careful pilot of my proper woe. -
Mine were my faults, and mine be their reward,
My whole life was a contest, since the day
That gave me being gave me that which marred
The gift, — a fate, or will, that walked astray:
And I at times have found the struggle hard,
And thought of shaking off my bonds of clay :
But now I fain would for a time survive,
If but to see what next can well arrive.