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Right to expect his vigorous decline,
“ Yet,” with a smile of triumph thus exclaimed The Solitary, “in the life of nan, If to the poetry of common speech Faith may be given, we see as in a glass A true reflection of the circling year, With all its seasons. Grant that Spring is there, In spite of many a rough untoward blast, Hopeful and promising with buds and flowers ; Yet where is glowing Summer's long rich day, That ought to follow faithfully expressed ? And mellow Autumn, charged with bounteous fruit, Where is she imaged ? in what favoured clime Her lavish pomp, and ripe magnificence ? -Yet, while the better part is missed, the worse In man's autumnal season is set forth With a resemblance not to be denied, And that contents him ; bowers that hear no more The voice of gladness, less and less supply Of outward sunshine and internal warmth ; And, with this change, sharp air and falling leaves, Foretelling aged Winter's desolate sway.
How gay the habitations that bedeck
And noiseless commonwealth. The simple race
While in this serious mood we held discourse, The reverend Pastor toward the church-yard gate Approached ; and, with a mild respectful air Of native cordiality, our Friend Advanced to greet him. With a gracious mien Was he received, and mutual joy prevailed. Awhile they stood in conference, and I guess That he, who now upon the mossy wall Sate by my side, had vanished, if a wish Could have transferred him to the flying clouds, Or the least penetrable hiding-place In his own valley's rocky guardianship.
-For me, I looked upon the pair, well pleased : Nature had framed them both, and both were marked By circumstance, with intermixture fine Of contrast and resemblance. To an oak Hardy and grand, a weather-beaten oak, Fresh in the strength and majesty of age, One might be likened : flourishing appeared, Though somewhat past the fulness of his prime,
The other-like a stately sycamore,
A general greeting was exchanged ; and soon The Pastor learned that his approach had given A welcome interruption to discourse Grave, and in truth too often sad.“ Is Man A child of hope ? Do generations press On generations, without progress made ? Halts the individual, ere his hairs be grey, Perforce ? Are we a creature in whom good Preponderates, or evil ? Doth the will Acknowledge reason's law ? A living power Is virtue, or no better than a name, Fleeting as health or beauty, and unsound ? So that the only substance which remains, (For thus the tenor of complaint hath run) Among so many shadows, are the pains And penalties of miserable life, Doomed to decay, and then expire in dust! -Our cogitations this way have been drawn, These are the points,” the Wanderer said,“ on which Our inquest turns.— Accord, good Sir! the light Of your experience to dispel this gloom : By your persuasive wisdom shall the heart That frets, or languishes, be stilled and cheered."
"Our nature," said the Priest, in mild reply, “ Angels may weigh and fathom : they perceive, With undistempered and unclouded spirit, The object as it is; but, for ourselves, That speculative height we may not reach. The good and evil are our own; and we Are that which we would contemplate from far. Knowledge, for us, is difficult to gainIs difficult to gain, and hard to keepAs virtue's self ; like virtue is beset With snares ; tried, tempted, subject to decay.
Love, admiration, fear, desire, and hate,
Yet for the general purposes of faith
The very multitude are free to range,
Your walk conduct you hither, ere the sun
“We see, then, as we feel,” the Wanderer thus With a complacent animation spake, “And in your judgment, Sir! the mind's repose On evidence is not to be ensured By act of naked reason. Moral truth Is no mechanic structure, built by rule; And which, once built, retains a stedfast shape And undisturbed proportions ; but a thing Subject, you deem, to vital accidents ; And, like the water-lily, lives and thrives, Whose root is fixed in stable earth, whose head