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Look at her garments,
Clinging like cerements !
Whilst the wave constantly Drips from her clothing:
Take her up instantly, Loving, not loathing. Touch her not scornfully ; Think of her mournfully,
Gently, and humanly; Not of the stains of her : All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly. Make no deep scrutiny Into her mutiny,
Rash and undutiful : Past all dishonor, Death has left on her
Only the beautiful. Still, for all slips of hers,
One of Eve's family, Wipe those poor lips of hers
Oozing so clammily. Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb, – Her fair: auburn tresses: Whilst wonderment guesses
Where was her home.
Who was her father ?
Who was her mother?
Had she a sister?
Had she a brother ?
Or was there a dearer one
Still, and a nearer one Yet, than all other ?
Alas for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun!
Oh, it was pitiful !
Near a whole city-full,
Home she had none.
Feelings had changed :
Love by harsh evidence
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God's providence
Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement,
From garret to basement,
She stood with amazement,
Houseless by night.
The bleak wind of March
Made her tremble and shiver; But not the dark arch,
Or the black flowing river:
Mad from life's history,
Glad to death's mystery
Swift to be hurled,
Out of the world !
In she plunged boldly,
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran :
Over the brink of it,
Picture it, think of it,
Dissolute man ! Lave in it, drink of it,
Then, if you can! Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care, Fashioned so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!
Ere her limbs frigidly
Stiffen too rigidly,
Smooth and compose them;
And her eyes
Staring so blindly ! -
Through muddy impurity, As when with the daring Last look of despairing
Fixed on futurity.
Spurred by contumely,
Into her rest.
Cross her hands humbly,
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast.
Owning her weakness,
Her evil behavior,
And leaving with meekness
Her sins to her Saviour.
A PARENTAL ODE TO MY INFANT SON.
Thou happy, happy elf! (But stop; first let me kiss away that tear!)
Thou tiny image of myself ! (My love, he's poking peas into his ear!)
Thou merry, laughing sprite,
With spirit feather-light, Untouched by sorrow, and unsoiled by sin ! (Good heavens! the child is swallowing a pin !)
Thou little tricksy Puck, With antic toys so funnily bestuck, Light as the singing bird that wings the air ! . (The door, the door! he'll tumble down the stair !)
Thou darling of thy sire !
(Why, Jane, he'll set his pinafore afire!)
Thou imp of mirth and joy!
In love's dear chain so strong and bright a link !
Thou idol of thy parents! (Stop the boy !
There goes my ink!)
Thou cherub, but of earth!
Fit playfellow for fays by moonlight pale,
In harmless sport and mirth!
(The dog will bite him if he pulls its tail;)
Thou human humming-bee, extracting honey From every blossom in the world that blows,
Singing in youth's Elysium ever sunny! (Another tumble ! — that's his precious nose !)
Thy father's pride and hope, (He'll break the mirror with that skipping-rope !) With
pure heart newly stamped from Nature's mint! (Where did he learn that squint ?)
Thou young domestic love!
(He'll have that jug off with another shove !)
Dear nursling of the hymeneal nest!
(Are those torn clothes his best ?)
Little epitome of man, (He'll climb upon the table; that's his plan!) Touched with the beauteous tints of dawning life!
(He's got a knife !)
Thou enviable being !
No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky foreseeing,
Play on, play on,
My elfin John!
Toss the light ball, bestride the stick,
(I knew so many cakes would make him sick !)
With fancies buoyant as the thistle-down,
Prompting the face grotesque, and antic brisk,
many a lamb-like frisk;
(He's got the scissors, snipping at your gown!)
Thou pretty opening rose !
(Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose !)
Balmy, and breathing music like the south ;
(He really brings my heart into my mouth!)
Fresh as the morn, and brilliant as its star;
(I wish that window had an iron bar !)
Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove.
I can not write unless he's sent above !)
Became famous at the age of twenty-two as the author of " Pleasures of Hope." “Gertrude of Wyoming,” and several familiar pieces, “ Hohenlinden,” “ Exile of Erin,” “Lord Ullin's Daughter,” “ The Battle of the Baltic,” and “Ye Mariners of England,” are all noted for the perfection of rhythm, beauty, and force of expression.
At summer eve, when heaven's aerial bow
Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
Whose sun-bright summit mingles with the sky ?
Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near ?
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thus, with delight, we linger to survey
The promised joys of life's unmeasured way;
Thus, from afar, each dim-discovered scene
More pleasing seems than all the past hath been ;
And every form that Fancy can repair
From dark oblivion glows divinely there.
What potent spirit guides the raptured eye
To pierce the shades of dim futurity ?
Can Wisdom lend, with all her heavenly power,
The pledge of Joy's anticipated hour ?
Ah, no! she darkly sees the fate of man,
Her dim horizon bounded to a span;
Or, if she hold an image to the view,
'Tis Nature pictured too severely true.
With thee, sweet Hope! resides the heavenly light
That pours remotest rapture on the sight;
Thine is the charm of life's bewildered way,
That calls each slumbering passion into play:
Waked by thy touch, I see the sister band,
On tiptoe watching, start at thy command,
And fly where'er thy mandate bids them steer, –
To Pleasure's path, or Glory's bright career.
Primeval Hope, the Aonian Muses say,
When Man and Nature mourned their first decay;
When every form of death, and every woe,
Shot from malignant stars to earth below;
When Murder bared her arm, and rampant War
Yoked the red dragons of her iron car;
When Peace and Mercy, banished from the plain,
Sprung on the viewless winds to heaven again,
All, all forsook the friendless, guilty mind;
But Hope, the charmer, lingered still behind.
Thus, while Elijah's burning wheels prepare
From Carmel's hight to sweep the fields of air,
The prophet's mantle, ere his flight began,
Dropped on the world a sacred gift to man.
Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden grow
Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe :
Won by their sweets, in Nature's languid hour
The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower:
There, as the wild bee murmurs on the wing,
What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring !
What viewless forms the Æolian organ play,
And sweep the furrowed lines of anxious thought away!
Angel of Life! thy glittering wings explore
Earth's loneliest bounds, and Ocean's wildest shore.
Lo! to the wintry winds the pilot yields
His bark careering o'er unfathomed fields :
Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar,
Where Andes, giant of the western star,
With meteor standard to the winds unfurled,
Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world.
Now far he sweeps where scarce a summer smiles, –
On Behring's rocks, or Greenland's naked isles :
Cold on his midnight watch the breezes blow
From wastes that slumber in eternal snow,
And waft across the waves' tumultuous roar
The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's shore.
Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm,
Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form!