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“I stand, while all around me lie
Composed in slumber long and deep : Where darkness sits on every eye,
'Tis mine alone to wake and weep! Amid the hearts that once would leap
In welcome of my coming feet,
For not another breast will beat.
“The arms that spread so quick to twine
Around me, now no more I fill : The hand, once fondly locked in mine,
Is here beside me, cold and still. I sigh, I feel, I think alone;
For not a dream is passing here. — 'Tis all oblivion! and my groan
Unheeded falls on every ear.
“ “ And have the ties affection wove
So close, so tender, ended thus? Does nature form our souls for love
To sport with, and to torture us?
I long this weary load of life
To lay aside, and be at rest, -
That slowly now consume my breast.
“ But earth! earth! earth! it is not so
That I may yet thy part dismiss; And forth to other scenes I go,
With all my soul confined to this!
That I amid its throngs appear,
While all beside will linger here.
“I now must join the noisy crowd,
To hold their pleasures light as air; Yet, not like one whom grief has bowed,
Or sorrow marked, will I be there. The world's rude hand I would not trust
Too near my bosom's bleeding strings ; For these, beloved and hallowed dust! 'Twixt God and us are sacred things.
“Its careless eye shall never see
The wounds it has no balm to heal :
Its look of pity, turned on me,
I would not, - could not bear to feel.
Before it I will wear a smile,
To veil the void it can not fill ;
Though deep within my breast the while
I feel the arrow rankling still.
“ The light of mirth may then be found
Upon my lip, but there alone :
To drown my weeping spirit's moan.
Since ye, my loved ones, slumber here?
“ Thou barren tree!” a voice then said,
And to his soul : “ with leaves and flowers I've clothed thee well; and o'er thee shed
The richest gifts of sun and showers !
And now, if I should cut thee down,
For giving back no fruit to me, To lie beneath my withering frown,
It were not rest and peace for thee!
An earthly, dark, and sterile heart
Yields not the fruits of faith and love, That should, for thine immortal part,
Be ripened here, and stored above. Frail man! thy Maker's hand is kind.
In each severe and chastening, blow: The gold that is for Heaven refined,
It tries and polishes below!”
H. F. GOULD.
WHEN vesper hour, with stilly spell,
What time thou bend'st the suppliant knee, And pour'st thy fervent soul in prayer,
Think of me, - pray for me, - for me!
Too garish glows the golden day, -
That bids my fancy cease to roam ;