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On into twilight within walls of stone,
Then to the place of trial; and alone,
Alone before his judges in array
Stands for his life: there, on that awful day,
Counsel of friends—all human help denied-
All but from her who sits the pen to guide,
Like that sweet Saint who sate by Russell's side
Under the Judgment-seat.
But guilty men
Triumph not always. To his hearth again,
Again with honour to his hearth restored,
Lo, in the accustomed chair and at the board,
Thrice greeting those who most withdraw their claim,
(The lowliest servant calling by his name)
He reads thanksgiving in the eyes of all,
All met as at a holy festival !
- On the day destined for his funeral !
Lo, there the Friend, who, entering where he lay,
Breathed in his drowsy ear" Away, away!
Take thou my cloak–Nay, start not, but obey-
Take it and leave me.” And the blushing Maid,
Who thro' the streets as thro' a desert strayed;
And, when her dear, dear Father passed along,
Would not be held—but, bursting through the throng,
Halberd and battle-axe-kissed him o'er and o'er;
Then turned and went—then sought him as before,
Believing she should see his face no more!
And oh, how changed at once-no heroine here,
But a weak woman worn with grief and fear,
Her darling Mother! 'Twas but now she smiled;
And now she weeps upon her weeping child !
-But who sits by, her only wish below
At length fulfilled—and now prepared to go?
His hands on hers—as through the mists of night,
She gazes on him with imperfect sight;
Her glory now, as ever her delight!
To her, methinks, a second Youth is given; The light upon her face a light from Heaven!
An hour like this is worth a thousand passed
pomp or ease—'Tis present to the last! Years glide away untold—'Tis still the same! As fresh, as fair as on the day it came !
How oft from grove to grove, from seat to seat,
With thee conversing in thy loved retreat,
I saw the sun go down !-Ah, then 'twas thine
Ne'er to forget some volume half divine,
Shakspeare's or Dryden's—thro' the chequered shade
Borne in thy hand behind thee as we strayed;
And where we sate (and many a halt we made)
To read there with a fervour all thy own,
And in thy grand and melancholy tone,
Some splendid passage not to thee unknown,
Fit theme for long discourse—Thy bell has tolled !
-But in thy place among us we behold
One who resembles thee.
'Tis the sixth hour.
The village-clock strikes from the distant tower.
The ploughman leaves the field; the traveller hears,
And to the inn spurs forward. Nature wears
Her sweetest smile; the day-star in the west
Yet hovering, and the thistle's down at rest.
And such, his labour done, the calm He knows, Whose footsteps we have followed. Round him glows An atmosphere that brightens to the last; The light, that shines, reflected from the Past, -And from the Future too! Active in Thought Among old books, old friends; and not unsought
* At illa quanti sunt, animum tanquam emeritis stipendiis libidinis, ambitionis, contentionis, inimicitiarum, cupiditatum omnium, secum esse, secumque (ut dicitur) vivere ?-_ Cic. De Senectute.
By the wise stranger-in his morning-hours,
When gentle airs stir the fresh-blowing flowers,
He muses, turning up the idle weed;
Or prunes or grafts, or in the yellow mead
Watches his bees at hiving-time;* and now,
The ladder resting on the orchard-bough,
Culls the delicious fruit that hangs in air,
The purple plum, green fig, or golden pear,
Mid sparkling eyes, and hands uplifted there.
At night, when all, assembling round the fire,
Closer and closer draw till they retire,
A tale is told of India or Japan,
Of merchants from Gołcond or Astracan,
What time wild Nature revelled unrestrained,
And Sinbad voyaged and the Caliphs reigned:-
Of Knights renowned from holy Palestine,
And minstrels, such as swept the lyre divine,
When Blondel came, and Richard in his Cell +
Heard, as he lay, the song he knew so well-
Of some Norwegian, while the icy gale
Rings in her shrouds and beats her iron-sail,
Among the shining Alps of Polar seas
Immoveable-for ever there to freeze!
* Hinc ubi jam emissum caveis ad sidera coeli
Nare per æstatem liquidam suspexeris agmen,
Contemplator.–VIRG. + Richard the First. For the romantic story here alluded to, we are indebted to the French Chroniclers.See FaucheT. Recueil de l'Origine de la Langue et Poësie Fr.