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And Bishop Mant's plain practical counsel is wise and good for the life that lies before us :
Ere the morning's busy ray
And oh, where'er your days be passed,
He only to the heart can give
He can, He will, from out the dust
We are now to bear the burden and heat of the day—for “every day is a little life.” And rapidly the birthdays become saddened in early manhood, when deep passions are at work, and the heart and soul are agitated with tumultuous hopes and fears. We look back with regret, and are sad in the prospect of a maturity of toil and care :
O for the morning gleam of youth, the half-unfolded
flower, That sparkles in the diamond dew of that serener
hour, What time the broad and level sun shone gaily o’er
the sea, And in the woods the birds awoke to songs of
ecstasy. The sun, that gilds the middle arch of man's maturer
day, Smites heavy on the pilgrim's head who plods his
dusty way ; The birds are Aed to deeper shades, the dewy
flowers are dried; And hope, that with the day was born, before the
day has died : For who can promise to his soul a tranquil eventide ? Yes—though the dew will gleam anew, though from
its western sky The sun will give as mild a ray as morning could
Though from the tufted thorn again will sing the
nightingale, Yet little will the ear of age enjoy her tender tale ; And night will find us toiling on, with joyless
travail worn; For day must pass and night must come before
Slight and simple though they be, these lines may awaken some heart echoes :
OH! WOULD I WERE AGAIN 'A CHILD !
Where are the daisies to be found ?
Friends who charm'd my infancy,
E’en my very natal air
Young gives a melancholy picture of the various characters of youth, and their different fates :
Self-flatter'd, unexperienced, high in hope, When young, with sanguine cheer and streamers gay, We cut our cable, launch into the world, And fondly dream each wind and star our friend; All in some darling enterprise embark'd : But where is he can fathom its event ? Amid a multitude of artless hands, Ruin's sure perquisite, her lawful prize! Some steer aright, but the black blast blows hard, And puffs them wide of hope: with hearts of proof Full against wind and tide some win their way. And when strong effort has deserved the port, And tugg'd it into view, 'tis won !-'tis lost! Though strong their oar, still stronger is their fate. They strike! and while they triumph they expire : In stress of weather most, some sink outright; O’er them and o'er their names the billows close, To-morrow knows not they were ever born: Others a short memorial leave behind, Like a flag floating when the bark's engulf’d; It floats a moment, and is seen no more. One Cæsar lives; a thousand are forgot. How few beneath auspicious planets bornDarlings of Providence! fond Fate's elect! With swelling sails make good the promised port With all their wishes freighted!
The change that comes over the spirit of our birthdays is most truthfully described by Moore: My birthday !-what a different sound
That word had in my youthful ears;
Less and less white the mark appears !
That Time around him binds so fast,
How hard that chain will press at last!
The more we live, more brief appear
Our life's succeeding stages;
And years like passing ages.
Ere passion yet disorders,
Along its grassy borders.
And sorrow's shafts fly thicker,
Why seem your courses quicker?
And life itself is vapid,
Feel we its tide more rapid ?
Time's course to slower speeding,
And left our bosoms bleeding?