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THE VALLEY OF FERN
There is n lone valley, few charms can it number,
Compar'd with the lovely glens north of the Tweed;
No mountains enclose it where morningmists slumber,
And it never has echoed the shepherd's soft reed.
No streamlet of crystal, its rocky banks laving,
Flows through it, delighting the ear and the eye;
On its siilrH no proud forests, their foliage waving.
Meet the gales of the Autumn or Summerwind's sigh;
Yet by me it is priz'd, and full dearly I love it,
And oft my steps thither I pensively turn;
It has silence within, Heaven's proud arch above it,'
And my fancy has nam'd it the Valley of Fern.
O deep the repose which its calm recess giveth!
And no music can equal its silence to me;
When broken, 'tis only to prove something liveth,
By the note of the sky-lark, or hum of the bee.
On its sides the green fern to the breeze gently bending,
With a few stunted trees, meet the wandering eye;
Or the furze and the broom their bright blossoms extending, .
With the braken's soft verdure delightfully vie;—
These are all it can boast; yet, when Fancy is dreaming,
Her visions, which Poets can only discern,
Come crowding around, in unearthly light beaming,
And invest with bright beauty the Valley of Fern.
Sweet Valley! in seasons of grief and
dejection, I have sought in thy bosom a shelter from
care; And have found in my musings a bond of
connexion With thy landscape so peaceful, and all that
was there: In the verdure that sooth'd, in the flowers
that brighten'd, In the blackbird's soft note, in the hum of
the bee, I found something that lull'd, and insensibly
And felt grateful and tranquil while gazing on thee.
Yes! moments there are, when mute nature is willing
To teach, would proud man but be humble and learn;
When her sights and her sounds on the heartstrings are thrilling:
And this I have felt in the Valley of Fern.
For the bright chain of being, though widely extended,
Unites all its parts in one beautiful whole;
In which Grandeur and Grace are enchantingly blended,
Of which GOD is the Centre, the Light, and the Soul!
And holy the hope is, and sweet the sensation,
Which this feeling of union in solitude brings;
It gives silence a voice—and to calm contemplation
Unseals the pure fountain whence happiness springs.
Then Nature, most loved in her loneliest recesses,
Unveils her fair features, and softens her stern;
And spreads, like that Being who bounteously blesses,
For her votary a feast in the Valley of Fern.
And at times in its confines companionless
straying, Pure thoughts born in stillness have pass'd
through my mind; And the spirit within, their blest impulse
obeying, Has soar'd from this world on the wings of
the wind:— The pure sky above, and the still scene
around me, To the eye which survcy'd them, no clear
image brought; But my soul seem'd entranced in the vision
which bound me, As by magical spell, to the beings of thought! And to Him, their dread Author! the Fountain of Feeling! I have bow'd, while my heart seem'd within
me to burn; And my spirit contrited, for mercy appealing, Has call'd on his name in the Valley of Fern
Farewell, lovely Valley! — when Earth's
silent bosom Shall hold him who loves thee, thy beauties
may live:— And thy turf's em'rald tint, and thy broom's
yellow blossom, Unto loiterers like him soothing pleasure
As brightly may morning, thy'graces investing With light, and with life, wake thy inmates
from sleep; And as softly the moon, in still loveliness
resting, To gaze on its charms, thy lone landscape
may steep. Then, should friend of the bard, who hath
paid with his praises The pleasure thou'st yielded, e'er seek thy
sojourn, Should one tear for his sake fill the eye
while it gazes, It may fall unreprov'd in the Valley of Fern.
We know all we see
Trod art chang'd, lovely spot! and no more thou displayest,
To the eye of thy votary, that negligent grace,
Which, in moments the saddest, the tenderest, the gayest,
Allur'd him so oft thy recesses to trace.
The hand of the spoiler has fallen upon thee,
And marr'd the wild beauties that deck'd thee before;
And the charms, which a poet's warm praises had won thee,
Exist but in memory, and bless thee no more.
Thy green, palmy fern, which the softest and mildest
Of Summer's light breezes could ruffle,—is fled;
And the bright-blossom'd ling, which spread oVr thee her wildest
And wantonest hues,—is uprooted and dead.
Yet now, even now, that thou neither
belongest, Or seemst to belong, unto Nature or Art; The love I still bear thee is deepest and
strongest, And thy fate but endears thee the more to
my heart Thou art passing away, like some beautiful
vision, From things which now are, unto those that
have been! And wilt rise to my sight, like a landscape
elysian, With thy blossoms more bright, and thy
verdnre more green. Thou wilt dwell in remembrance, among
those recesses Which fancy still haunts; though they were,
and are not; Whose loveliness lives, and whose beauty
still blesses, Which, though ceasing to be, can be never
creation, However enchanting its beauty may Is doom'd to dissolve, like some bright
exhalation, That dazzles, and fades in the morning's
first beam. The gloom of dark forests, the grandeur of
mountains, The verdure of meads, and the beauty of
flowers; The seclusion of valleys, the freshness of
fountains, The sequester'd delights of the loveliest
bowers: Nay, more than all these, that the might
of old Ocean, Which seems as it was on the day of its
birth, Must meet the last hour of convulsive
commotion. Which, sooner or later, will uncreate earth.
Yet, acknowledging this, it may be that the
feelings Which these have awaken'd, the glimpses
they 've given, Combin'd with those inward and holy revealing* That illumine the soul with the brightness
May still be immortal, and destin'd to lead us. Hereafter, to that which shall not pass
away; To the loftier destiny God hath decreed us. The glorious dawn of an unending day. And thus, like the steps of the ladder ascended By angels (which rose on the patriarch's
eye), With the perishing beauties of earth may
be blended Sensations too pure, and too holy to die.
Thus thinking, I would not recall the hrief
measure Of praise, lovely valley! devoted to thee; Well has it been won by the moments of
pleasure Afforded to some, justly valued by me. May their thoughts and mine often silently
ponder Over every lov'd spot that our feet may
have trod; And teach us, while through nature's beauties we wander, All space is itself but the temple of God! That so, when our spirits shall pass through
the portal Of Death, we may find, in a state more
sublime, Immortality owns what could never be
mortal! And Eternity hallows some visions of Time!
OCCASIONED BY AN AFFECTING INSTANCE OF
Thou didst not sink by slow decay,
But every tic was wrench'd away,
A lot like thine may justly make
And, in the hearts of others, wake
Well may we fear; for who can think
On thee, so lately living;
With somewhat of misgiving?
Well may we mourn; for cold indeed,
Must be the heart that does not bleed
A Daughter, Mother, Sister, Wife!
At noon, Life, Kid i I'd before thee: The night brought nature's mortal strife,
The day—Death's conquest o'er thee.
How much was done in hours so few!
Hopes wither'd, hearts divided: Joys, griefs, loves, fears, and feelings too,
Stern death at once decided.
With Thee 'tis over! There are some.
Who, in mute consternation, Fearfully shrink from hours to come
Of henrtfelt desolation.
While the dark tempest's terrors lust.
We guess at evils round us;
Its ravages confound us.
The thunder's roar, the lightning's gleam,
Might seem a vision only;
The stillness! oh, how lonely!
One hope in such an hour is left.
He, who hath thus of bliss bereft
Our dearest hopes He would not crush,
Nor bid our eyes with sorrows gush,
A bruised reed He will not break:
Shall own his Mercy while they ache,
Mary! I wake not now for thee
As once I tnuch'd its strings,
Fresh pleasure on their wings.
But He, who gave thee vital breath,
Hath visited thy frame
To God! from whence it came.
Well, He is good! and surely thou
And gratefully confess.
The gate of happiness.
Then start not at its transient gloom;
Their eagle-glances fling:
O Death! where is thy sting?
For goon before Jehovah's throne.
And join the snored choir,
While list'ning saints admire.
And oh! may I, who feebly wake
With joy that lyre resign;
In unison with thine!
WRITTEN IN THE GROUNDS OF MARTIN COLE, ESQ..
When is the aspect which Nature wears The loveliest and dearest? Say is it in Spring? When its blossoms the apple-tree beauteonsly
bears. And birds on each spray are beginningtosing? Or is it in Summer's fervid pride? When the foliage is shady on every side, And tempts us at noon in the green-wood
Lovely is Nature in seasons like these;
stream; Like smiles on a sorrowing cheek, that gleam When its woesand cares for a moment are fled.
And such is the prospect which now is
greeting My glance, as I tread this favourite walk; As the frolicsome sunbeams are over it
fleeting, And each flowret nods on its rustling stalk: And the bosom of Deben is darkening and
lightening. When clouds the crests of its waves are
whitening. Or bursts of sunshine its billows are
brightening, While the winds keep up their stormy talk.
Of tho brightness and beanty of Summer
and Spring There is little left, but the roses that blow By this friendly wall. To its covert they cling, And eagerly smile in each sunbeam's glow;
But when the warm beam is a moment withdrawn.
And the loud whistling breeze sweeps over the lawn.
Their beauteous blossoms, so fair and forlorn.
Seem to shrink from the wind which raffles them so.
Poor wind-tost tremblers! some months
gone by, You were fann'd by breezes gentler than
these; When you strctch'd out your leave* to a
summer-sky. And open'd your buds to the hum of bees: But soon will the winter be past, and you. When his winds are gone to the north, shall
renew Your graceful apparel of glossy hue. And wave your blossoms in Summer's breexe.
It is this which gives Autumn its magic
charm Of pensive delight to the thoughtful mind; Its shadowy splendours excite no alarm, Though we know that Winter lingers behind; We rejoice that Spring will again restore Every grace that enchanted the eye beforr; And we feel that when Nature's first bloom
is o'er, Her dearest and loveliest aspect we find.
The autumnal blasts, which whirl while we
listen; The wan, sear leaf, like a floating toy; The bright round drops of dew, which glisten On the gross at morn; and the sunshine Cot. Which comes and goes like a smile when
woo'd: The auburn meads, and the foamy flood. Ench sight and sound, in a musing mood. Give birth to sensations superior to joy.
VERSES TO AN INFANT.
Blessings rest on thee, happy one!
All that parental love
Be given thee from above.
Fruitless the wish, and vain the prayer,
For perfect bliss would be; Thou canst not shun what all must share.
Nor 'scape from sorrow free.
What all must meet, thou canst not miss;
Yet mayst thou, sweet one! know Capacity to relish bliss.
And strength to combat woe.
May that pure innocence, which now
Is infancy's best spell, £ncircle long thy cloudless brow,
And in thy bosom dwell.
It is the talisman, whose toach
in like Ithuriel's spear; And it shall teach thee, us'd as such.
Both what to love and fear.
In all the countless codes and creeds
la much, that he who oftencst reads
May these be as a volume seal'd;—
A fountain clos'd to thee;
Life's true philosophy.
Thus should it be; for thou nrt one
Of nature's outward, glorious sun,
And the uncharter'd breeze, that sweeps
Thy native valley fair, Will dry the teur thy young eye weeps,
And wave thy flowing hair.
Then be a child of Nature's school,
Her silent teachings trace;
Of holy, heavenly grace.
For they arc still the truly wise,
Who earliest learn to look On earth's best charms, on sun, and skies,
As wisdom's open book.
There may thy dawning reason read
Instruction, line by line; And guileless thought, and virtuous deed,
In life's first bloom be thine.
Thus taught, nor art, nor base deceit
Thy heart with healthful hopes shall beat,
And when, through childhood's paths of flowers,
Thy infant steps have trod, Thy soul, shall be, in after-hours,
Prepar'd to learn of God!
His Spirit, plac'd within thy heart,
Shall fill it, from above,
And keep it pure by love.
And thou shult find, in every stage
Of ripening soul and sense.
Is holy innocence!
Farewell! I dare not hope that prayer
Yet this may not disperse in air.
Oh, for thy sake! and theirs no less,
Who on thy being build! May the warm hopes these lines express.
In mercy be fulfill'd.
Though glorious, O God! must thy temple have been, On the day of its first dedication, When the Cherubim's wings widely waving were seen On high, o'er the ark's holy station;
When even the chosen of Levi, though skill'd To minister, standing before Thee,
Retir'd from the cloud which the temple then flll'd, And thy glory made Israel adore Thee:
Though awfully grand was thy majesty then;
Yet the worship thy gospel discloses. Less splendid in pomp to the vision of men,
Far surpasses the ritual of Moses.
And by whom was that ritual for ever repeal'd?
Dut by Him, unto whom it was given To enter the Oracle, where is reveal'd,
Not the cloud, but the brightness of heaven.
Who, having once entcr'd, hath shown us the way,
O Lord! how to worship before thee; Not with shadowy forms of that earlier day,
But in spirit and truth to adore thee!
This, this is the worship the Saviour mado known,
When she of Samaria found him By the patriarch's well, sitting weary, alone,
With the stillness of noon-tide around him.
How sublime, yet how simple the homage he taught To her, who inquir'd by that fountain. If Jbhovar at Solyma's shrine would be sought? Or ador'd on Samaria's mountain?
Woman! believe me, the hour is near, When^He, if ye rightly would bail him,
Will neither be worship'd exclu-siucly here, Nor yet at the altar of Salem.