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These ears, that scarce can hear you,
O joyous children mine!
That flow from harps divine.
Come whispering soft and low;
That point me where to go.
By the way the Past hath trod,
To my Father and my God.
But on the outer side
To comfort me and guide.
And in the after-tide,
We are now arrived at the very last station on the journey of life.
ODE ON THE DEATH OF A LADY, WHO LIVED ONE HUNDRED YEARS, AND DIED ON HER BIRTHDAY.
Ancient dame, how wide and vast
To a race like ours appears,
All thy multitude of years !
Frailer and of feebler powers-
Soon exhaust the sum of ours.
Death's delicious banquet-we
Perish even from the womb; Swifter than a shadow flee,
Nourish'd but to feed the tomb. Seeds of merciless disease
Lurk in all that we enjoy ; Some that waste us by degrees,
Some that suddenly destroy. And if life o'erleap the bourn
Common to the sons of men, What remains but that we mourn,
Dream, and dote, and drivel then? Fast as moons can wax and wane
Sorrow comes; and while we groan, Pant with anguish, and complain,
Half our years are fled and gone. If a few (to few 'tis given)
Lingering on this earthly stage, Creep and halt with steps uneven
To the period of an age, Wherefore live they but to see
Cunning, arrogance, and force, Sights lamented much by thee,
Holding their accustom'd course ?
All that we with wonder view,
Should propitious Heaven design
Though but half the length of thine.
And so we take our leave of
THE BIRTHDAY. It comes ! it comes ! the natal day, With childhood's pleasures once so gay, When little gifts and simple flowers Welcomed its bright and happy hours. It comes, yet not as then it came, In all things changed except in name! It comes! it comes! a welcome day, Though childhood's joys have pass'd away; Youth hails it with a hopeful smile, And gifts and prayers its hours beguile; The young heart greets its well-known name, In youth and childhood still the same. It comes! it comes ! a slighted day, For youthful hopes have pass’d away ; And manhood, with his careworn brow, Brooks not the thought of birthdays now! It comes! but in his troubled lot, That once glad day is welcome not. It comes ! to age, a solemn day, The last upon life's weary way; The point from which his mental sight Entrance perceives to worlds of light, While angels hail with songs of love The pilgrim's birth to life above.
Woodfall & Kinder, Printers, Milford Lane, Strand, W.C.