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The nurse shall
of all her ills beguiled, "'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 yiolets scattered round; and old and young , 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
Born in a trance, we wake, observe, inquire;
in stature, and in wisdom too!
Yet, all forgot, how oft the eyelids 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! Nor do we speak or move, or hear or see ; So like what once we were, and once again shall be!
And say, how soon, where, blithe as innocent, The boy at sunrise carolled as he went, An aged pilgrim on his staff shall lean, Tracing in vain the footsteps o'er the green; The man himself how altered, not the scene! Now journeying home with nothing but the name; Way-worn and spent, another and the same!
No eye observes the growth or the decay. To-day we look as we did yesterday; And we shall look to-morrow as to-day. Yet while the loveliest smiles her locks grow gray! And in her glass could she but see the face She'll see so soon amid another race, How would she shrink Returning from afar, After some years of travel, some of war, Within his gate Ulysses stood unknown Before a wife, a father, and a son!
And such is Human Life, the general theme. Ah, what at best, what but a longer dream? Though with such wild romantic wanderings fraught, Such forms in Fancy's richest colouring wrought, That, like the visions of a love-sick brain, Who would not sleep and dream them o'er again?
Our pathway leads but to a precipice; And all must follow, fearful as it is! From the first step 'tis known ; but—No delay! On, 'tis decreed. We tremble and obey. A thousand ills beset us as we go. -“Still, could I shun the fatal gulf”—Ah, no, 'Tis all in vain the inexorable Law!
Nearer and nearer to the brink we draw.
Verdure springs up; and fruits and flowers invite,
and fountains—all things that delight.
Yet here high passions, high desires unfold,
Now, seraph-winged, among the stars we soar ;
Wealth, Pleasure, Ease, all thought of self resigned,
Now in Thermopylæ remain to share
ong with his friend in generous enmity, Pleading, insisting in his place to die!
Do what he will, he cannot realize Half he conceives—the glorious vision flies. Go where he may, he cannot hope to find The truth, the beauty pictured in his mind. But if by chance an object strike the sense, The faintest shadow of that Excellence, Passions, that slept, are stirring in his frame; Thoughts undefined, feelings without a name! And some, not here called forth, may slumber on Till this vain pageant of a world is gone; Lying too deep for things that perish here, Waiting for life—but in a nobler sphere!
Look where he comes! Rejoicing in his birth, Awhile he moves as in a heaven on earth! Sun, moon, and stars—the land, the sea, the sky To him shine out as in a galaxy !