Page images
PDF
EPUB

HUMAN LIFE.

1819.

THE ARGUMENT.

Introduction. Ringing of Bells in a neighboring Village on the Birth of an Heir. General Reflections on Human Life. The subject proposed. Childhood. Youth. Manhood. Love. Marriage. Domestic llappiness and Affliction. War. Peace. Civil Dissension. Retirement from Active Life. Old Age and its Enjoyments. Conclusion.

HUMAN LIFE.

THE lark has sung his carol in the sky;
The bees have hummed their noon-tide harmony.
Still in the vale the village-bells ring round,
Still in Llewellyn-hall the jests resound:
For now the caudle-cup is circling there,
Now, glad at heart, the gossips breathe their prayer,
And, crowding, stop the cradle to admire
The babe, the sleeping image of his sire.

A few short years — and then these sounds shall hail
The day again, and gladness fill the vale;
So soon the child a youth, the youth a man,
Eager to run the race his fathers ran.
Then the huge ox shall yield the broad sirloin ;
The ale, now brewed, in floods of amber shine :
And, basking in the chimney's ample blaze,
Mid

many a tale told of his boyish days, The nurse shall cry, of all her ills beguiled, 66'Twas on these knees he sate so oft and smiled."

And soon again shall music swell the breeze; Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees Vestures of nuptial white; and hymns be sung, And violets scattered round; and old and young,

[ocr errors]

In every cottage-porch with garlands green,
Stand still to gaze,' and, gazing, bless the scene;
While, her dark eyes declining, by his side
Moves in her virgin-veil the gentle bride.

And once, alas! nor in a distant hour,
Another voice shall come from yonder tower;
When in dim chambers long black weeds are seen,
And weepings heard where only joy has been;
When by his children borne, and from his door
Slowly departing to return no more,
He rests in holy earth with them that went before.

And such is Human Life; so, gliding on, It glimmers like a meteor, and is gone ! Yet is the tale, brief though it be, as strange, As full, methinks, of wild and wondrous change, As any that the wandering tribes require, Stretched in the desert round their evening-fire; As any sung of old in hall or bower To minstrel-harps at midnight's witching-hour !

Born in a trance, we wake, observe, inquire ; And the green earth, the azure sky, admire. Of Elfin-size

forever as we run, We cast a longer shadow in the sun ! And now a charm, and now a grace is won ! We grow in stature, and in wisdom too! And, as new scenes, new objects, rise to view, Think nothing done while aught remains to do.?

Yet, all forgot, how oft the eye-lids close, And from the slack hand drops the gathered rose ! How oft, as dead, on the warm turf we lie, While many an emmet comes with curious eye ; And on her nest the watchful wren sits by!

« PreviousContinue »