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A sober gladness the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.
There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellow richness on the clustered trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds.
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing; and in the vales
The gentle Wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned,
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees
The golden robin moves. The purple finch,
That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds,
A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle,
And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud
From cottage-roofs the warbling blue-bird sings :
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke,
Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.
Oh, what a glory doth this world put on For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks On duties well performed, and days well spent ! For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves, Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings. He shall so hear the solemn hymn, that Death Has lifted up for all, that he shall go To his long resting place without a tear.
When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale, With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale. O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods, The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes. Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung, And summer winds the stilluess broke,
The crystal icicle is hung. Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide, Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.
Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay, And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd ; And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud. Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song; I hear it in the opening year, —
I listen, and it cheers me long.
OF THE MORAVIAX NUNS OF BETHLEHEM,
AT THE CONSECRATION OF PULASKI'S BASSER,
WHEN the dying flame of day
Through the chancel shot its ray,
Far the glimmering tapers shed
Faint light on the cowled head;
And the censer burning swung,
Where, before the altar, hung
The blood-red banner, that with prayer
Had been consecrated there.
And the nuns' sweet hymn was heard the while
Sung low in the dim, mysterious aisle.
" Take thy banner! May it wave
Proudly o'er the good and brave;
When the battle's distant wail
Breaks the sabbath of our vale,
When the clarion's music thrills
To the hearts of these lone hills,
When the spear in conflicts shakes,
And the strong lance shivering breaks.
“ Take thy banner! and, beneath
The battle-cloud's encircling wreath,
Guard it!- till our homes are free!
Guard it !- God will prosper thee!
In the dark and trying hour,
In the breaking forth of power,
In the rush of steeds and men,
His right hand will shield thee then.
Take thy banner! But, when night
Closes round the ghastly fight,
If the vanquished warrior bow,
Spare him! — By our holy vow,
By our prayers and many tears,
By the mercy that endears,
Spare him! - he our love hath shared!
- as thou wouldst be spared!
“ Take thy banner ! — and if e'er
Thou shouldst press the soldier's bier,
And the muffled drum should beat
To the tread of mournful feet,
Then this crimson flag shall be
Martial cloak and shroud for thee.”
The warrior took that banner proud,
And it was his martial cloak and shroud!
I stood upon the hills, when heaven's wide arch
Was glorious with the sun's returning march,
And woods were brightened, and soft gales
Went forth to kiss the sun-clad vales.
The clouds were far beneath me;- bathed in light
They gathered mid-way round the wooded height,
And, in their fading-glory, shone
Like hosts in battle overthrown,
As many a pinnacle, with shifting glance,
Through the grey mist thrust up its shattered lance,
And rocking on the cliff was left
The dark pine blasted, bare, and cleft,
The veil of cloud was lifted, and below
Glowed the rich valley, and the river's flow
Was darkened by the forest's shade,
Or glistened in the white cascade ;
Where upward, in the mellow blush of day,
The noisy bittern wheeled his spiral way.
I heard the distant waters dash,
I saw the current whirl and flash,
And richly, by the blue lake's silver beach,
The woods were bending with a silent reach,
Then o'er the vale, with gentle swell,
The music of the village bell
Came sweetly to the echo-giving hills ;
And the wild horn, whose voice the woodland fille,
Was ringing to the merry shout,
That faint and far the glen sent out,
Where, answering to the sudden shot, thin smoke,
Through thick-leaved branches, from the dingle broko.
If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget,
If thou wouldst read a lesson, that will keep
Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep,
Go to the woods and hills !-- No tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.