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That dipped their pitchers in that spring, And lingered round its brink.
On—on—through woeful images
As on the lonely moor.
Invites the zephyr's breath—
0 blest are ye! unthinking creatures! Rtjoicing in your lowly natures Vr dance round human tombs! Where gladlicr sings the mountain-lark Than o'er the church-yard dim and dark! Or where, than on the church-yard-wull, From the wild rose-tree brighter fall Her transitory blooms! "hat is it to that lovely sky "all her worshippers should die! As happily her splendours play On the grave where human forms decay, k o'er the dewy turf of Morn, * here the virgin, like a woodland Fay 0« wings of joy was borne. —Even now a soft and silvery haze Hill—Village—Tree—is steeping In the loveliness of happier days.
Ere rose the voice of weeping!
Sweet Spire! that crownst the house of God! To thee my spirit turns, While through a cloud the softened light On thy yellow dial burns. Ah, me! my bosom inly bleeds To see the deep-worn path that leads Unto that open gate! In silent blackness it doth tell How oft thy little sullen bell Hath o'er the village toll'd its knell. In beauty desolate. Oft, wandering by myself at night, Such spire huth risen in softened light Before my gladdened eyes,— And as I looked around to see The village sleeping quietly Beneath the quiet skies,— Methought that 'mid her stars so bright, The moon in placid mirth, Was not in henven a holier sight Than God's house on the earth. Sweet image! transient in my soul! That very bell hnth ceased to toll When the grave receives its dead— And the last time it slowly swung, 'Twas by a dying stripling rung O'er the sexton's hoary head! All silent now from cot or hall Comes forth the sable funeral! The Pastor is not there! For yon sweet Manse now empty stands, Nor in its walls will holier hands Be e'er held up in prayer.
BESSY BELL AND MARY GRAY.
O Hitsh'd be our souls as this Burial-ground!
Or, are ye Angels? who from blisa.
With dewy fall, unto our earth
On wings of Paradise descend.
The grave of Innocence to kiss,
And tears of an immortal birth
With human tears to blend!
Aye! there they sit! like earthly Creatures
With softer, gadder, fainter features!
A Halo round each head;
Fair Things whose earthly course is o'er,
And who bring from some far-distant shore
The beauty that on earth they wore,
With the silence of the dead.
The dream of Ghost and Angel fades, And I gaze upon two Orphan-Maids, Frail Creatures, doom'd to die! Spirits may be fair in their heavenly sleep, But sure when mortal Heings weep In tears a beauty lies more deep, The glimmering of mortality! Their aged Friend in slumber lies. And hath closed for an hour the only eyes That ever cheered their orphan-state, At the hour of birth left desolate! She sleeps! and now these Maids have come With mournful hearts to this mournful home, Led here by a pensive train Of thoughts still brooding on the dead! For they have watched the breast of pain Till it moved not on its bed. The lifeless lips together prest, And many a ghastly body ft rest, And framed the shroud for the corse of bone That lay unheeded and alune, When all its friends were dead and gone!
So they walk not to yon breezy mountain To sit in the shade of its silvery fountain, And 'mid that lofty air serene Forget the dim and wniling scene That spreads beneath their feet! They walk not down yon fairy-stream Whose liquid lapses sweet Might wrap them in some happy dream Of a pure, calm, far retreat, As on that rivulet seems to flow, Escaping from a world of Wo! But this still realm is their delight. And hither they repair Communion with the dead to hold! Peaceful, as at the fall of night. Two little Lambkins gliding white Bcturn unto the gentle air That sleeps within the fold. Or like two Birds to their lonely nest, Or wearied waves to their bay of rest, Or fleecy clouds, when their race is run, That hang, in their own beauty blest, 'Mid the calm that sanctifies the west Around the setting Sun.
Phantoms! ye waken to mine eye Sweet trains of earthly imagery!
Whate'er on Nature's breast is found
In loveliness without n sound.
That silent seems to soul and sense.
Emblem of perfect Innocence!
Two radiant dew-drops that repose
On mossy bank at evening's close,
And happy in the gentle weather.
In beauty disappear together;
Two flowers upon the lonesome moor,
When a dim day of storm is o'er,
Lifting up their yellow hair
To meet the balm of the slumbering air;
Two sea-birds from the troubled ocean
Floating with a snowy motion,
In the absence of the gale
Over a sweet inland-vale;
Two early-risen stars that lie
Together on the evening-sky,
And imperceptibly pursue
Their walk along the depths of blue.
—Sweet Beigns! on my dreams ye rise
With all your frail humanities!
Nor Earth below, nor Heaven above.
An imnge yields of Peace and Love,
So perfect as your pensive breath
That brings unsought a dream of death!
Each sigh more touching than the last,
Till life's pathetic tune be past!
The grave is fit I'd and the turf is spread
To grow together o'er the dead.
The little daisies bright and fair
Arc looking up scarce injured there.
And one warm night of summer-dew
Will all their wonted smiles renew.
Restoring to its blooming rest
A soft couch for the sky-lark's breast.
The funeral-party, one by one
Have given their blessing and are gone—
Prepnred themselves ere long to die,
A small, sad, silent company.
The orphans robed in spotless white
Yet linger in the holy ground.
And shed all o'er that peaceful mound.
A radiance like the wan moonlight.
—Then from their mother's grat r thry glidr
Out of the chnrch-yard side by side.
Just at the gate they pause and turn —
I hear sad blended voices mourn
Mother, farewell!—the Inst rndcatour
To send their souls hack to the clay.
Then they hide their eyes—and walk away
From her grave—now and for ever!
Not till this parting invocation To their mother's buried breast. Had they felt the power of desolatis Long as she lived the village lay
Calm—nnrepining in decay—
For grief was its own consolation,
And death seem'd only rest.
—But now a dim and sullen breath
Hath chnrarter'd the fate of death;
And tears, and sighs, and sobs, and wailing,
All roond—o'er human joy prevailing—
Or 'mid the pausing fits of woe,
Wild «ilence, like a depth of snow
Shrouding in slumber stern and dull
The spring-fields late so beautiful,
I pon their fainting spirits press
With weight of utter hopelessness,
And drive them off, they heed not where,
So that oblivion's ebbless wave
May lie for ever on one grave,
One village of despair.
Faint with such spectacles of woe Towards their solitary home Across the village-green they go— Ijeing the streamlet's murmuring flow, "here melt away the specks of foam, f'lle human creatures dying Mid their voyage down life's peaceful stream, 'pon the bosom of a dream ,
In thoughtless pleasure lying.
They seize that transient calm; the door '" their own cottage open stands— Far lonelier than one hour before, When they with weak and trembling hands The head of that dear coffin bore Into iu darksome bed! To them far drearier than the tomb, F»* naked silence of the room «*"rted by the dead. They tiu the dim and senseless walls, J»«i hurry fast awny; *"ne sudden thought their feet recals, And trifles urge their stay, T"l with the violence of despair Tl"y rnsh; into the open air,
And bless its thatch and sheltering tree,
Then leave it everlastingly!
—On, on they go, in sorrow blind.
Yet with a still and gentle motion
That speaks the inner soul resign'd;
Like little billows o'er the ocean
Still flowing on with tide and wind,
And though the tempest smite their breast,
Reaching at last some bay of rest.
God bless them on their pilgrimage! And may his hand divine With healing dew their woes assuage, When they have reach'd that silent shrine By nature fram'd in the open air, With soft turf for the knees of prayer, And dome of many a pastoral hill Lying in henVen serene and still; For pilgrims ne'er to Sion went More mournful, or more innocent. Before the rueful Cross to lie At midnight on Mount Calvary. Two favourite sheep before them go— Each with its lambs of spotless snow Frisking around with pattering feet, With peaceful eyes and happy bleat. Happy! yet like a soft complaint! As if at times the voice of sorrow Through the hnsh'd air came breathing Taint From blessed things that fear no morrow. —Each Shepherdess holds in her hand A verdant crook of the willow-wand, Wreath'd round with melancholy flowers Gather'd 'mid the hills in happier hours. In a small cage a thrush is sitting— Or, restless as the light That through his sunny prison plays. From perch to perch each moment flitting, His quick and glancing eye surveys The novel trees and fields so bright, And like a torrent gushing strong He sends through heaven his sudden song, A song that all dim thought destroys, And breathes o'er all its own wild joys.
As on the Orphans hold their way Through the stillness of the dying day, Fairies might they seem who are returning, At th« end of some allotted time, L'nto their own immortal clime! Each bearing in its lovely hand Some small memorial of the land Where they, like common human frames, And call'd by gentle Christian names, For long had been sojourning! Some little fair insensate thing, Relic of that wild visiting! Bird that beneath a brighter spring Of its own vanish'd earth will sing; Those harmless creatures that will glide O'er faery-vales in earthly snow, And from the faery-river's flow Come forth more purely beautified.
Now with n wild and mournful song The fair procession moves along, While by that tune so sweet The little flock delighted press As if with human tenderness Around the singer's feet. Up—up the gentle slope they Vind, Leaving the laughing flowers behind That seem to court their stay. One moment on the top they stand, At the wild-unfolding vale's command, —Then down into that faery-land Dream-like they sink away!
WRITTEN ON SEEING A PICTURE BY BEKGHEM,
OF AN ASS IN A STORM-SHOWER.
Poor wretch! that blasted leafless tree,
Yetchill'd with cold, and drench'd with rain,
Long could my thoughtful spirit gaze
Behold a lane retired and green,
And lo! a little maiden stands,
The summer-sun is sinking down,
Groupes of gay children too are there,
The Ass hath got his burthen still!
A gipscy-groupe! the secret wood
Stirs through its leafy solitude.
As wheels the dance to mnny a jocund tunc;
Th' unpannier'd Ass slowly retires
From the brown tents, and sparkling fires.
And silently feeds on beneath the silent moon.
The Moon sits o'er the huge oak-tree,
But now the silver moonbeams fade,
With tenderest care the pitying dame
Supports the dying maiden's frame.
And strives with laughing looks her heart
to cheer; While playful children crowd around To satch her eye by smile or sound, Unconscious of the doom that waits their
I feel this mournful dream impart
A holier image to my heart,
For oft doth grief to thoughts sublime giTc
birth: Blest creature! through the solemn night. I see thee bath'd in heavenly light. Shed from that wondrous child—the Saviour
of the Earth.
When flying Herod's mnrd'rous rage,
Happy thou wert, nor low thy praise.
Like clouds o'er heaven: the gentle race
Poor wretch! my musing dream is o'er;
PRAYER TO SLEEP.
0 Guru Sleep! wilt Thou lay thy head
Alas! 'tis «aid that the Couch must be
Of the Eider-down thnt is spread for Thco,
So, I in my sorrow must lie nlone,
For mine, sweet Sleep! (» a Couch of stone.
Music to Thee, I know, is dear;
BotThon, glad Sleep! lov'st gladsome airs, 'ad wilt only come to thy Lover's prayers * hen the bells of merriment are ringing, And bliss with liquid voice is singing.
F»ir Sleep! so long in thy beauty wooed, >o Rival hast Thou in my solitude; jf mine, my Love! and we two will lie Embraced for ever—or awake to die!
Jwr Sleep! farewell!—hour, lioiir.lioiir. hour, ''ill slowly bring on the gleam of Morrow, B»l Thou art Joy's faithful Paramour, '»«■ lie wilt Thou not in the arms of Sorrow.
While thus, with unresisted art,
Again, I saw that Lady fair:
TO A SLEEPING CHILD.
Art thou a thing of mortal birth,
Whose happy home is on our earth?
Docs human blood with life embue
Those wandering veins of heavenly'blue,
That stray along thy forehead fair,
Lost 'mid a gleam of golden hair?
Oh! can that light and airy breath
Steal from a being doom'd to death;
Those features to the grave he sent
In sleep thus mutely eloquent;
Or, art thou, what thy.form would seem,
The phantom of a blessed dream?
A human shape I feel thou art,
I feel it, at my beating heart,
Those tremors both of soul and sense
Awoke by infant innocence!
Though dear the forms by fancy wove,
We love them with a transient love;
Thoughts from the living world intrude
Even on her deepest solitude:
But, lovely child! thy magic stole
At once into my inmost soul,
With feelings as thy beauty fair,
And left no other vision there.
To me thy parents are unknown!