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Or strewed with crumbs yon root-inwoven seat,
To lure the redbreast from his lone retreat!
Childhood's loved group revisits every scene;
The tangled wood-walk, and the tufted green!
Indulgent MEMORY wakes, and lo, they live !
Clothed with far softer hues than Light can give.
Thou first, best friend that Heaven 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 softened 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 tempered gleams of happiness resigned
Glance on the darkened mirror of the mind.
The School's lone porch, with reverend mosses grey, Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay. Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn, Quickening 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 formed and cherished here; And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems With golden visions, and romantic dreams !
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blazed The Gipsy's fagot—there we stood and gazed; Gazed on her sun-burnt face with silent awe, Her tattered 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 flashed thro' locks of blackest shade,
When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bayed :-
And heroes fled the Sibyl's muttered call,
Whose elfin prowess scaled the orchard-wall.
As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew,
And traced the line of life with searching view,
How throbbed my fluttering pulse with hopes and fears,
To learn the colour of my future years !
Ah, then, what honest triumph flushed 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-grey)
Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt,
And on his tale with mute attention dwelt.
As in his scrip we dropt our little store,
And sighed to think that little was no more,
He breathed his prayer,“ Long may such goodness live!”
'Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give.
Angels, when Mercy's mandate winged their flight,
Had stopt to dwell with pleasure on 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 grey stone, that fronts the chancel-door,
Worn smooth by busy feet now seen no more,
Each eve we shot the marble thro' the ring,
When the heart danced, 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 turned the greensward with his spade,
He lectured every youth that round him played;
And, calmly pointing where our fathers lay,
Roused us 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 unveiled the hallowed form of Truth;
Whose every word enlightened and endeared;
In age beloved, in poverty revered;
In Friendship's silent register ye live,
Nor ask the vain memorial Art can give.
But when the sons of peace, of pleasure sleep,
When only Sorrow wakes, and wakes to weep,
What spells entrance my visionary mind
With sighs so sweet, with transports so refined ?
Ethereal Power! who at the noon of night
Recall'st the far-fled spirit of delight;
From whom that musing, 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.
Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain, Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain. Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rise! * Each stamps its image as the other flies. Each, as the various avenues of sense Delight or sorrow to the soul dispense, Brightens or fades; yet all, with magic art, Controul the latent fibres of the heart. As studious PROSPERO's mysterious spell Drew every subject-spirit to his cell; Each, at thy call, advances or retires, As judgment dictates, or the scene inspires. Each thrills the seat of sense, that sacred source Whence the fine nerves direct their mazy course, And thro' the frame invisibly convey The subtle, quick vibrations as they play; Man's little universe at once o'ercast, At once illumined when the cloud is past.
Survey the globe, each ruder realm explore; From Reason's faintest ray to NEWTON soar. What different spheres to human bliss assigned ! What slow gradations in the scale of mind! Yet mark in each these mystic wonders wrought; Oh mark the sleepless energies of thought!
Namque illic posuit solium, et sua templa sacravit
Mens animi: hanc circum coëunt, densoque feruntur
Agmine notitiæ, simulacraque tenuia rerum.