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All the soul in rapt suspension,
All the quivering, palpitating
Chords of life in utmost tension,
With the fervour of invention,
With the rapture of creating !
Ah, Prometheus! heaven-scaling!
In such hours of exultation Even the faintest heart, unquailing, Might behold the vulture sailing
Round the cloudy crags Caucasian !
Though to all there is not given
Strength for such sublime endeavour, Thus to scale the walls of heaven, And to leaven with fiery leaven
All the hearts of men for ever;
Yet all bards, whose hearts unblighted
Honour and believe the presage, Hold aloft their torches lighted, Gleaming through the realms benighted,
As they onward bear the message!
THE LADDER OF ST. AUGUSTINE.
SAINT AUGUSTINE! well hast thou said,
That of our vices we can frame
A ladder, if we will but tread
Beneath our feet each deed of shame!
All common things, each day's events,
That with the hour bėgin and end, Our pleasures and our discontents,
Are rounds by which we may ascend,
The low desire, the base design,
That makes another's virtues less ; The revel of the ruddy wine,
And all occasions of excess;
The longing for ignoble things;
The strife for triumph more than truth ; The hardening of the heart, that brings
Irreverence for the dreams of youth ;
All thoughts of ill; all evil deeds,
That have their root in thoughts of ill; Whatever hinders or impedes
The action of the nobler will ;
All these must first be trampled down
Beneath our feet, if we would gain In the bright fields of fair renown
The right of eminent domain.
We have not wings, we cannot soar ;
But we have feet to scale and climb
By slow degrees, by more and more,
The cloudy summits of our ne.
The mighty pyramids of stone
That wedge-like cleave the desert airs, When nearer seen, and better known,
Are but gigantic flights of stairs.
The distant mountains, that uprear
Their solid bastions to the skies, Are crossed by pathways, that appear
As we to higher levels rise.
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
Standing on what too long we bore
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes, We
may discern—unseen before-
Nor deem the irrevocable Past,
As wholly wasted, wholly vain, If, rising on its wrecks, at last
To something nobler we attain.
THE PHANTOM SHIP.
In Mather's Magnalia Christi,
Of the old colonial time,
That is here set down in rhyme.
A ship sailed from New Haven,
And the keen and frosty airs, That filled her sails at parting,
Were heavy with good men's prayers.
“O Lord ! if it be thy pleasure”—
Thus prayed the old divine“To bury our friends in the ocean,
Take them, for they are thine!"
But Master Lamberton muttered,
And under his breath said he, " This ship is so crank and walty
I fear our grave she will be !''
And the ships that came from England
When the winter months were gone,
Brought no tidings of this vessel
Nor of Master Lamberton.
This put the people to praying
That the Lord would let them hear
What in his greater wisdom
He had done with friends so dear.
And at last their prayers were answered :
It was in the month of June, An hour before the sunset