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That faithful monitor 'twas heav'n to hear
When soft it spoke a promis'd pleasure near:
And has its sober hand, its simple chime,
Forgot to trace the feather'd feet of Time?
That massive beam, with curious carvings wrought,
Whence the caged linnet sooth'd my pensive thought-
Those muskets cas'd with venerable rust;
Those once lov'd.forms, still breathing thro' their dust,
Still from the frame, in mould gigantic cast,
Starting to life-all whisper of the past!
As thro' the garden's desart paths I rove,
What fond illusions swarm in every grove!
How oft, when purple evening ting'd the west,
We watch'd the emmet to her grainy nest;
Welcom'd the wild bee home on wearied wing,
Laden with sweets, the choicest of the spring!
How oft inscrib'd, with Friendship's votive rhyme,
The bark now silver'd by the touch of Time; .
Soar'd in the swing, half pleas'd and half afraid,
Thro' sister elms that wav'd their summer shade ;
Or strew'd with crumbs yon rot inwoven seat,
To lure the redbreast from his lone retreat!`
Childhood's lov'd group revisits every scene, The tangled wood-walk and the tufted green
Indulgent MEMORY wakes, and, lo, they live!
Cloth'd with far softer hues than Light can give.
Thou last best friend that Heav'n assigns below,
To sooth and sweeten all the cares we know ;
Whose glad suggestions still each vain alarm,
When nature fades, and life forgets to charm;
Thee would the muse invoke!-to thee belong
The sage's precept and the poet's song.
What soften'd views thy magic glass reveals,
When o'er the landscape Time's meek twilight steals!
As when in ocean sinks the orb of day,
Long on the wave reflected lustres play;
Thy temper'd gleams of happiness resign'd
Glance on the darken'd mirror of the mind,
The School's lone porch, with reverend mosses gray,
Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay.
Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn,
Quick'ning my truant-feet across the lawn ;
Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air,
When the slow dial gave a pause to care.
Up springs at every step, to claim a tear,
Some little friendship form'd and cherish'd here!
And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems
With golden visions, and romantic dreams!
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blaz'd
The Gipsy's faggot-there we stood and gaz'd;
Gaz'd on her sun-burnt face with silent awe,
Her tatter'd mantle, and her hood of straw;
Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er ;
The drowsy brood that on her back she bore;
Imps, in the barn, with mousing owlet bred,
From rifled roost at nightly revel fed;
Whose dark eyes flash'd thro' locks of blackest shade,
When in the breeze the distant watch dog bay'd;
And heroes fled the Sibyl's mutter'd call,
Whose elfin prowess scal'd the orchard-wall.
As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew,
And traced the line of life with searching view,
How throbb'd my fluttering pulse with hopes and fears,
To learn the colour of my future years!
Ah, then, what honest triumph flush'd my breast!
This truth once known-To bless, is to be blest !
We led the bending beggar on his way;
(Bare were his feet, his tresses silver gray
Sooth'd the keen pangs his aged spirit felt,
And on his tale with mute attention dwelt.
As inhis scrip we dropp'd our little store,
And wept to think that little was no more;
He breath'd his prayer, "Long may such goodness
Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give.
Angels, when Mercy's mandate wing'd their flight,
Had stopt to catch new rapture from the sight.
But hark! thro' those old firs, with sullen swell,.
The church-clock strikes! ye tender scenes farewell!
It calls me hence, beneath their shade, to trace
The few fond lines that Time may soon efface.
On yon gray stone, that fronts the chancel-door,
Worn smooth by busy feet, now seen no more;
Each eve we shot the marble thro' the ring,
Where the heart danc'd, and life was in its spring
Alas! unconscious of the kindred earth,
That faintly echoed to the voice of mirth.
The glow-worm loves her emerald light to shed,
Where now the sexton rests his hoary head.
Oft, as he turn'd the greensward with his spade,
He lectur'd every youth that round him play'd;
And, calmly pointing where his fathers lay,
Rous'd him to rival each, the hero of his day.
Hush, ye fond flutterings, hush! while here alone
I search the records of each mouldering stone.
Guides of my life! Instructors of my youth!
Who first unveil'd the hallow'd form of Truth
Whose every word enlighten'd and endear'd
In age belov'd; in poverty rever'd;
In Friendship's silent register ye live,
Nor ask the vain memorial Art can give.
But when the sons of peace and pleasure sleep, When only Sorrow wakes, and wakes to weep; What spells entrance my visionary mind,
With sighs so sweet, with raptures so refin❜d?
Etherial Power! whose smile, at noon of night, Recalls the far-fled spirit of delight,
Instills that mufing melancholy mood,
Which charms the wise, and elevates the good;
Blest MEMORY, hail! Oh, grant the grateful muse
Her pencil dipt in Nature's living hues,
To pass the clouds that round thy empire roll,
And trace its airy precincts in the soul.
Lull'd in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden chain.
Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rise! (a)
Each stamps its image as the other flies!
Ech, as the various avenues of sense
Delight or sorrow to the soul dispense,
Brightens or fades; yet all, with magic art,
Control the latent fibres of the heart.