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Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary and Contemplative, by William Gilmore Simms, Esq. In Two Volumes: Vol. II. I. Southern Passages and Pictures; II. Historical and Dramatic Sketches; III. Scripture Legends; IV. Francesca Da Rimini:
Electronic Edition.

Simms, William Gilmore, 1806-1870.


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(title page) Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary and Contemplative, by William Gilmore Simms, Esq. In Two Volumes: Vol. II. I. Southern Passages and Pictures; II. Historical and Dramatic Sketches; III. Scripture Legends; IV. Francesca Da Rimini
(spine) Simms' Poetical Works Vol. II.
Simms, William Gilmore, 1806-1870.
[5], 6-360, [361-372] p.
Charleston, S. C.
Published By John Russell
1853

Call number PS2845 .P6 1853 (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)



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POEMS
DESCRIPTIVE, DRAMATIC, LEGENDARY
AND
CONTEMPLATIVE
BY
WILLIAM GILMORE SIMMS, ESQ.
IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. II.
I. SOUTHERN PASSAGES AND PICTURES
II. HISTORICAL AND DRAMATIC SKETCHES
III. SCRIPTURE LEGENDS
IV. FRANCESCA DA RIMINI

CHARLESTON, S. C.
PUBLISHED BY JOHN RUSSELL
1853


Page verso

ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853,
By W. GILMORE SIMMS.
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Page 5

SOUTHERN PASSAGES AND PICTURES.

FLIGHT TO NATURE.


                       SICK of the crowd, the toil, the strife,
                       Sweet Nature, how I turn to thee,
                       Seeking for renovated life,
                       By brawling brook and shady tree!


                       I knew thy rocks had spells of old,
                       To soothe the wanderer's woe to calm,
                       And in thy waters, clear and cold,
                       My fev'rish brow would seek for balm.


                       I've bent beneath thy ancient oak,
                       And sought for slumber in its shade,
                       And, as the clouds above me broke,
                       I dream'd to find the boon I pray'd;


                       For light--a blessed light--was given,
                       Wide streaming round me from above,
                       And in the deep, deep vaults of heaven,
                       There shone, methought, a look of love.


                       And, through the long, long summer hours,
                       When every bird had won its wing,
                       How sweet to think, amidst thy flowers,
                       That youth might yet renew its spring;--


Page 6


                       That sacred season of the heart,
                       When every pulse with hope is strong,
                       And, still untaught by selfish art,
                       Truth fears no guile, and love no wrong.


                       And who, but nature's self, could yield
                       The blessing in the prayer I made,
                       Throned in her realm of wood and field,
                       Of rocky realm and haunted shade?


                       Who, but that magic queen, whose sway
                       Drives winter from his path of strife,
                       Whilst all her thousand fingers play,
                       With bud and bird, in games of life!


                       With these a kindred life I ask,--
                       Not wealth that mortals vainly seek;
                       But, in heaven's sunshine let me bask,
                       My heart as glowing as my cheek;--


                       An idle heart, that would not heed
                       That chiding voice, when duty comes,
                       To drag the soul, but freshly freed,
                       Back to cold toils and weary glooms.


                       No lure she finds in mortal schemes,
                       Which wiser fancies still reprove,--
                       Far happier in her woodland dreams,
                       With one sweet teacher, taught by love!


                       Thou, Nature, that magician be,
                       Restore each dream that taught the boy,
                       That warm'd his hope, that made him free,
                       While wisdom took the shape of joy;


Page 7


                       And I will bless thee with a song,
                       As fond as hers, that idle bird,
                       That sings above me all day long,
                       As if she knew I watch'd and heard.

THE BROOKLET.


                       A LITTLE farther on there is a brook,
                       Where the breeze loiters ever. The great oaks
                       Have roof'd it with their arms and affluent leaves,
                       So that the sunbeam rifles not its fount,
                       While the shade cools it. You may hear it now,
                       A low faint murmur, as through pebbly paths,
                       In soft and sinuous progress it flows on,
                       In streams that make division as they go,
                       Still parting, still uniting, in one song,
                       The sweetest mortals know, of constancy.


                       Thither, ah, thither, if thy heart be sad!--
                       That song will bring thee solace. Or, if hope
                       That may not yet find name for what it seeks,
                       Inspires thee with a dream whose essence brings
                       Fruition in its keeping,--still, the strain
                       That's murmur'd by yon brooklet, is the best,--
                       Having a voice for fancy at its birth,
                       That keeps it wakeful on its own sweet wings.
                       And thou wilt gather, for whatever mood
                       That makes thee fond or thoughtful, a sweet tone
                       Beguiling thy best sympathies, and still
                       Leaving in thy keeping, as thou seek'st thy home,
                       A kindlier sense of what is in thy path.


Page 8


                       Beside these banks, through the whole livelong day,
                       Ere yet I noted much the flight of time,
                       And knew him but in ballad books and songs,
                       Nor cared to know him better,--I have lain,
                       Nursing delicious reveries that made
                       All being but a circle of bright flowers,
                       With love the centre, sov'ran of that realm,
                       And I a happy inmate, with the rest.
                       There, with sweet thoughts, all liquid like the stream
                       That still inspired their progress, clear and bright,
                       I lay as one who slept, through happy hours,
                       Unvex'd by din of duty, unrebuked
                       By chiding counsellor to youthful cares,
                       That ever seeks to plant on boyish brow
                       The winter that has silver'd all its own.
                       And thus, in long delight, with the rapt soul
                       Shaping its own elysium of the peace
                       That harbor'd in the solitude, the eye
                       Grew momently familiar with sweet forms,
                       That offer'd to the genius of the place,
                       Making all consecrate to gentleness.
                       How came the thrush to whistle as he drank,
                       Heeding not me, and darting through the copse,
                       Only to bring his loved one on his wing,
                       To gather like refreshment? Squirrels dropt
                       Their nuts adown the bankside where I lay,
                       And, leaping to recover them, ere yet
                       They rolled into the brooklet and away,
                       Swept over me, and with fantastic play
                       Drew up the feathery brush above their heads,--
                       And their gray orbs, with bright intelligence,
                       Cast round them, while from hand to hand they frisk'd
                       The prize, which none might covet but to feed
                       Such nimble harlequins. The dove at noon


Page 9


                       Couch'd in thick bristly covering of the pine,
                       Sought here its sweet siesta, wooing sleep,
                       By plaintive iteration of sad notes,
                       That might be still a sensible happiness:--
                       And sometimes, meek intruder on my realm,
                       Through yonder thick emerging, half in light
                       And half in shadow, stole the timid fawn,
                       That came down to the basin's edge to drink,
                       Now lapping, and now turning to the bank,
                       Cropping the young blade of the coming spring
                       And heedless, as I lay along unstirr'd,
                       Of any stranger--sauntering through the shade,
                       Even where I crouch'd,--having a quiet mood,
                       And not disturbing, while beholding mine.


                       Thou smil'st; and on thy lip the speaking thought
                       Looks still like censure--deems my hours misspent,
                       And saddens into warning. A shrewd thought,
                       I will not combat with an argument,
                       But leave the worldly policy to boast,
                       That such an errantry as this life of mine,
                       Hath found its fit sarcasm, well rebuked.
                       And yet there is a something in the life
                       Thou mock'st, as idle still and profligate,
                       Something to life compensative, and dear
                       To feelings that are fashion'd not by man.
                       Ah! the delicious sadness of the hours,
                       Spent by this brooklet--ah! the dreams they brought,
                       Of other hopes and beings--the sweet truths,
                       That still subdued the heart to patientness,
                       And made all flexible in the youthful will,
                       That else had been most passionate and rash.
                       I know the toils that gather on my path,
                       And I will grapple them with a strength that shows


Page 10


                       A love for the encounter, not the less
                       For hours thus wasted in the solitude,
                       And fancies born of dreams--and 'twill not more
                       Impair the resolute courage of my heart,
                       Wrestling with toil, in conflicts of the race,
                       If still, in pauses of the fight, I dream
                       Of this dear idlesse,--gazing on that brook
                       So sweet in shade, thus singing on its way,
                       Like some dear child, all thoughtless, as it goes
                       From shadow into sunlight and is lost.

SABBATH IN THE FOREST.

1. FREEDOM OF THE SABBATH.


                       LET us escape! This is our holiday--
                       God's day, devote to rest; and, through the wood
                       We'll wander, and, perchance, find heavenly food:
                       So, profitless, it shall not pass away.
                       'Tis life, but with sweet difference, methinks,
                       Here, in the forest;--from the crowd set free,
                       The spirit, like escaping song-bird, drinks
                       Fresh sense of music from its liberty.
                       Thoughts crowd about us with the trees--the shade
                       Holds teachers that await us: in our ear,
                       Unwonted, but sweet voices do we hear,
                       That with rare excellence of tongue persuade:
                       They do not chide our idlesse,--were content,
                       If all our walks were half so innocent.
Page 11

FLOWERS AND TREES.


                       MARCH is profuse in violets--at our feet
                       They cluster,--not in pride, but modesty;
                       The damsel pauses as she passes by,
                       Plucks them with smiles, and calls them very sweet.
                       But such beguile me not! The trees are mine,
                       These hoary-headed masters;--and I glide,
                       Humbled, beneath their unpresuming pride,
                       And wist not much what blossoms bud or shine.
                       I better love to see you grandsire oak,
                       Old Druid-patriarch, lone among his race,--
                       With blessing, out-stretch'd arms, as giving grace
                       When solemn rites are said, or bread is broke:
                       Decay is at his roots,--the storm has been
                       Among his limbs,--but the old top is green.

3. THE SAME SUBJECT.


                       THE pine with its green honors; cypress gray,
                       Bedded in waters; crimsoning with bloom
                       The maple, that, irreverently gay,
                       Too soon, methinks, throws off his winter gloom;
                       The red bud, lavish in its every spray,
                       Glowing with promise of the exulting spring;
                       And over all, the laurel, like some king,
                       Conscious of strength and stature, born for sway.
                       I care not for their species--never look
                       For class or order in pedantic book,--
                       Enough that I behold them--that they lead
                       To meek retreats of solitude and thought,
                       Declare me from the world's day-labors freed,
                       And bring me tidings books have never brought.
Page 12

4. RELIGIOUS MUSINGS.


                       THE mighty and the massy of the wood
                       Compel my worship: satisfied I lie,
                       With naught in sight but forest, earth, and sky,
                       And give sweet sustenance to precious mood!--
                       'Tis thus from visible but inanimate things,
                       We gather mortal reverence. They declare
                       In silence, a persuasion we must share,
                       Of hidden sources, spiritual springs,
                       Fountains of deep intelligence, and powers,
                       That man himself implores not; and I grow
                       From wonder into worship, as the show,
                       Majestic, but unvoiced, through noteless hours,
                       Imposes on my soul, with musings high,
                       That, like Jacob's Ladder, lifts them to the sky!

5. SOLACE OF THE WOODS.


                       WOODS, waters, have a charm to soothe the ear,
                       When common sounds have vex'd it. When the day
                       Grows sultry, and the crowd is in thy way,
                       And working in thy soul much coil and care--
                       Betake thee to the forests. In the shade
                       Of pines, and by the side of purling streams
                       That prattle all their secrets in their dreams,
                       Unconscious of a listener--unafraid--
                       Thy soul shall feel their freshening, and the truth
                       Of nature then, reviving in thy heart,
                       Shall bring thee the best feelings of thy youth,
                       When in all natural joys thy joy had part,
                       Ere lucre and the narrowing toils of trade
                       Had turn'd thee to the thing thou wast not made.
Page 13

6. POETRY OF THE FOREST.


                       THESE haunts are sacred,--for the vulgar mood
                       Loves not seclusion. Here the very day
                       Seems in a Sabbath dreaminess to brood:
                       The groves breathe slumber--the great tree-tops sway
                       Drowsily, with the idle-going wind;
                       And sweetest images before my mind
                       Persuade me into pleasure with their play.
                       Here, fancies of the present and the past
                       Delight to mingle, 'till the palpable seems
                       Inseparate from the glory in my dreams,
                       And golden with the halo round it cast;
                       Thus do I live with Rosalind, thus stray
                       With Jacques; and churning o'er some native rhyme,
                       Persuade myself it smacks of the old time.

THE LOST PLEIAD.

I.


                       NOT in the sky,
                       Where it was seen
                       So long in eminence of light serene,--
                       Nor on the white tops of the glistering wave,
                       Nor down, in mansions of the hidden deep,
                       Though beautiful in green
                       And crystal, its great caves of mystery,--
                       Shall the bright watcher have
                       Her place, and, as of old, high station keep!
Page 14

II.


                       Gone! gone!
                       Oh! never more, to cheer
                       The mariner, who holds his course alone
                       On the Atlantic, through the weary night,
                       When the stars turn to watchers, and do sleep,
                       Shall it again appear,
                       With the sweet-loving certainty of light,
                       Down shining on the shut eyes of the deep!

III.


                       The upward-looking shepherd on the hills
                       Of Chaldea, night-returning, with his flocks,
                       He wonders why his beauty doth not blaze,
                       Gladding his gaze,--
                       And, from his dreary watch along the rocks,
                       Guiding him homeward o'er the perilous ways!
                       How stands he waiting still, in a sad maze,
                       Much wondering, while the drowsy silence fills
                       The sorrowful vault!--how lingers, in the hope that night
                       May yet renew the expected and sweet light,
                       So natural to his sight!

IV.


                       And lone,
                       Where, at the first, in smiling love she shone,
                       Brood the once happy circle of bright stars:
                       How should they dream, until her fate was known,
                       That they were ever confiscate to death?
                       That dark oblivion the pure beauty mars,
                       And, like the earth, its common bloom and breath,
                       That they should fall from high;
                       Their lights grow blasted by a touch, and die,--
                       All their concerted springs of harmony
                       Snapt rudely, and the generous music gone!
Page 15

V.


                       Ah! still the strain
                       Of wailing sweetness fills the saddening sky;
                       The sister stars, lamenting in their pain
                       That one of the selectest ones must die,--
                       Must vanish, when most lovely, from the rest!
                       Alas! 'tis ever thus the destiny.
                       Even Rapture's song hath evermore a tone
                       Of wailing, as for bliss too quickly gone.
                       The hope most precious is the soonest lost,
                       The flower most sweet is first to feel the frost.
                       Are not all short-lived things the loveliest?
                       And, like the pale star, shooting down the sky,
                       Look they not ever brightest, as they fly
                       From the lone sphere they blest!

FIRST DAY OF SPRING.


                       OH! thou bright and beautiful day,
                       First bright day of the virgin spring,
                       Bringing the slumbering life into play,
                       Giving the leaping bird his wing.


                       Thou art round me now in all thy hues,
                       Thy robe of green, and thy scented sweets,
                       In thy bursting buds, in thy blessing dews,
                       In every form that my footstep meets.


                       I hear thy voice in the lark's clear note,
                       In the cricket's chirp at the evening hour;
                       In the zephyr's sighs that around me float,
                       In the breathing bud and the opening flower.


Page 16


                       I see thy forms o'er the parting earth,
                       In the tender shoots of the grassy blade,
                       In the thousand plants that spring to birth,
                       On the valley's side in the home of shade.


                       I feel thy promise in all my veins,
                       They bound with a feeling long suppress'd,
                       And, like a captive who breaks his chains,
                       Leap the glad hopes in my heaving breast.


                       There are life and joy in thy coming, Spring,
                       Thou hast no tidings of gloom and death,
                       But buds thou shakest from every wing,
                       And sweets thou breathest with every breath.

BALLAD.


                       BY the brooklet, grove and meadow,
                       Where together once we stray'd,
                       Do I wander, fond as ever,
                       Haunting still each secret shade;
                       And, that thus content I wander,
                       Where such precious joys were mine,
                       Do I know that thou art with me,
                       And my spirit walks with thine.


                       In the murmur of the brooklet,
                       Still thy well-known voice I hear,
                       And the whisper in the tree-top,
                       Tells me that thy form is near;


Page 17


                       Thou hast left me, at departing,
                       All that earth could never take,
                       And, still comforted, I wander
                       Through these shadows for thy sake.


                       Were I guilty of a passion
                       Which thy beauty could survive,
                       Still I feel thy gentle presence
                       Must the earthly fancy shrive;
                       And, discoursing with thy spirit,
                       Oh! I feel that earth has naught
                       To compensate the forgetting
                       Of the sweetness thou hast taught.

SONNET.--BY THE SWANANNOA.


                       Is it not lovely, while the day flows on
                       Like some unnoticed water through the vale,
                       Sun-sprinkled,--and, across the fields, a gale,
                       Ausonian, murmurs out an idle tale,
                       Of groves deserted late, but lately won?
                       How calm the silent mountains, that, around,
                       Bend their blue summits, as if group'd to hear
                       Some high ambassador from foreign ground,--
                       To hearken, and, most probably, confound!
                       While, leaping onward, with a voice of cheer,
                       Glad as some schoolboy ever on the bound,
                       The lively Swanannoa sparkles near;--
                       A flash and murmur mark him as he roves,
                       Now foaming white o'er rocks, now glimpsing soft through groves.


Page 18

TO TIME.


                       GRAY monarch of the waste of years,
                       Mine eyes have told thy steps in tears,
                       Yet yield I not to feeble fears,
                       In watching now thy flight:
                       The pangs that follow'd still thy blow
                       Have lost their edge with frequent woe,
                       And stronger must the courage grow
                       That's fed by constant fight.
                       The neck long used to weighty yoke,
                       The tree once shiver'd by the stroke,
                       The heart by frequent torture broke--
                       These fear no later blight.


                       Oh! mine hath been a mournful song,--
                       My neck hath felt the burden long,--
                       My tree was shiver'd,--weak and strong,
                       Beneath the bolt went down!--
                       The Fate that thus took early sway,
                       Hath spared of mine but little prey,
                       For old and young were torn away,
                       Ere manhood's wing had flown;--
                       I saw the noble sire, who stood
                       Majestic, as in crowded wood,
                       The pine--and after him, the brood,
                       All perish in thy frown.


                       So, count my hopes--so, tell my fears,
                       And ask what now this life endears,
                       To him who gave, with many tears,
                       Each blossom of his love;


Page 19


                       Whose store in heaven, so precious grown,
                       He counts each earthly moment flown,
                       As loss of something from his own,
                       In treasures shrined above.
                       Denied to seek--to see--his store,
                       Yet daily adding more and more,
                       Some precious plant, that, left before,
                       The spoiler rends at last.
                       Not hard the task to number now
                       The few that live to feel the blow;
                       The perish'd,--count them on my brow,
                       With white hairs overcast.


                       White hairs--while yet each limb is strong
                       To help the right and crush the wrong--
                       Ere youth, in manhood's struggling throng,
                       Had well begun his way:--
                       Thought premature, that still denied
                       The boy's exulting sports--the pride,
                       That, with the blood's unconscious tide,
                       Knows but to shout and play;
                       Youth, that in love's first gush was taught
                       To see his best affection brought
                       To tears, and woe, and death,--
                       While yet the fire was in his eye,
                       That told of passion's victory,
                       And, in his ear, the first sweet sigh,
                       From beauty's laboring breath.


                       And manhood now,--and loneliness,--
                       With, oh! how few to love and bless,
                       Save those who, in their dear duresse,
                       Look down from heaven's high towers;
                       The stately sire, the gentle dame,


Page 20


                       The maid who first awoke the flame,
                       That gave to both a mutual claim,
                       Soon forfeited, as ours--
                       And all those dearest buds of bloom,
                       That simply sought on earth a tomb,
                       From birth to death, with rapid doom,
                       A bird-flight wing'd for fate:
                       How thick the shafts!--how sure the aim!--
                       What other passion wouldst thou tame,
                       Oh! Time, within this heart of flame,
                       Elastic, not elate?


                       Is't pride?--methinks 'tis joy to bend;--
                       My foe--he can no more offend;--
                       My friend is false;--I love my friend;--
                       I love my foeman too!--
                       'Tis man I love;--nor him alone,
                       The brute, the bird,--its joy or moan,
                       Not heedless, to my heart hath gone--
                       I feel with all I view.
                       Wouldst have me worthy?--make me so,
                       By frequent bruise and overthrow;--
                       But spare on other hearts the blow,
                       Spare, from the cruel pang, the woe,
                       My innocent--my bright!
                       On me thy vengeance! 'Tis my crime
                       That needs the scourge, and, in my prime,
                       'Twere fruitful of improving time,
                       Thy hands should not be light.


                       I bend me willing to the thrall,
                       Whate'er the doom will bear it all,--
                       Drink of the bitter cup of gall,
                       Nor once complain of thee;


Page 21


                       Will poverty avail to chide,
                       Or sickness bend the soul of pride,
                       Or social scorn, still evil-eyed?--
                       Have, then, thy will of me!
                       But spare the woman and the child!--
                       Let me not see their features mild
                       Distorted,--hear their accents wild,
                       In agonizing pain--
                       Too much of this!--I thought me sure,
                       In frequent pang and loss before;--
                       I still have something to endure,--
                       And tremble, and--refrain!


                       On every shore they watch thy wing,--
                       To some the winter, some the spring,
                       Thou bring'st, or yet art doom'd to bring,
                       In rapid-rolling years:
                       How many seek thee, smiling now,
                       Who soon shall look with clouded brow,
                       Heart fill'd with bitter doubt and woe,
                       And eyes with gathering tears!--
                       But late, they fancied,--life's parade
                       Still moving on,--that, not a shade
                       Thou flung'st on bower and sunny glade,
                       In which they took delight:--
                       Sharp satirist--methinks I see
                       Thy glance in sternest mockery;--
                       They little think, not seeing thee,
                       How fatal is thy flight;--
                       What feathers grow beneath thy wing,
                       What darts--how poison'd--from what spring
                       Of sorrow, and how keen the sting,--
                       How cureless still the blight.


Page 22


                       Enough!--the cry has had its way,
                       As thou hast had!--'tis not the lay
                       Of vain complaint,--no idle play
                       Of fancy-dreaming care:
                       A mocking bitter like thine own,
                       Wells up from fountains, deep and lone,
                       Where sorrow, by sepulchral stone,
                       Sits watching thy career.
                       Thou'st mock'd my hope and dash'd my joy,
                       With keen rebuke and sad alloy--
                       The father, son--the man, the boy,
                       All, all! have felt the rod:--
                       Perchance, not all thy work in vain,
                       In softening soul, subduing brain,
                       If, suffering, I submit to pain,--
                       That minister of God.

THE TRAVELLER'S REST.


                       FOR hours we wander'd o'er the beaten track,
                       A dreary stretch of sand, that, in the blaze
                       Of noonday, seem'd to launch sharp arrows back,
                       As fiery as the sun's. Our weary steeds
                       Falter'd, with drooping heads, along the plain,
                       Looking from side to side most wistfully,
                       For shade and water. We could feel for them,
                       Having like thirst; and, in a desperate mood,
                       Gloomy with toil, and parching with the heat,
                       I had thrown down my burden by the way,
                       And slept, as man may never sleep but once,


Page 23


                       Yielding without a sigh,--so utterly
                       Had the strong will, beneath the oppressive care,
                       Fail'd of the needed energy for life,--
                       When, with a smile, the traveller by my side,
                       A veteran of the forest and true friend,
                       Whose memory I recall with many a tear,
                       Laid his rough hand most gently on mine own,
                       And said, in accents still encouraging:--


                       "Faint not,--a little farther we shall rest,
                       And find sufficient succor from repose,
                       For other travel: vigor will come back,
                       And sweet forgetfulness of all annoy,
                       With a siesta in the noontide hour,
                       Shelter'd by ample oaks. A little while
                       Will bring us to the sweetest spot in the woods,
                       Named aptly, 'Traveller's Rest.' There, we shall drink
                       Of the pure fountain, and beneath the shade
                       Of trees, that murmur lessons of content
                       To streams impatient as they glide from sight,
                       Forget the long day's weariness, o'er steppes
                       Of burning sand, with thirst that looks in vain
                       For the cool brooklet. All these paths I know
                       From frequent travail, when my pulse, like yours,
                       Beat with an ardor soon discomfited,
                       Unseason'd by endurance. Through a course
                       Of toil, I now can think upon with smiles,
                       Which brought but terror when I felt it first,
                       I grew profound in knowledge of the route,
                       Marking each wayside rock, each hill of clay,
                       Blazed shaft, or blighted thick, and forked tree,
                       With confidence familiar as you found
                       In bookish lore and company. Cheer up,


Page 24


                       Our pathway soon grows pleasant. We shall reach--
                       Note well how truly were my lessons conn'd,--
                       A little swell of earth, which, on these plains,
                       Looks proudly like a hill. This having pass'd,
                       The land sinks suddenly--the groves grow thick,
                       And, in the embrace of May, the giant wood
                       Puts on new glories. Shade from these will soothe
                       Thy overwearied spirit, and anon,
                       The broad blaze on the trunk of a dark pine
                       That strides out on the highway to our right,
                       Will guide us where, in woodland hollow, keeps
                       One lonely fountain; such as those of yore,
                       The ancient poets fabled as the home,
                       Each of its nymph; a nymph of chastity,
                       Whose duty yet is love. A thousand times,
                       When I was near exhausted as yourself,
                       That gash upon the pine-tree strengthen'd me,
                       As showing where the waters might be found,
                       Otherwise voiceless. Thanks to the rude man--
                       Rude in the manners of his forest life,
                       But frank and generous,--whose benevolent heart--
                       Good kernel in rough outside,--counsels him,
                       As in the ages of the Patriarch,
                       To make provision for the stranger's need.
                       His axe, whose keen edge blazons on the tree
                       Our pathway to the waters that refresh,
                       Was in that office consecrate, and made
                       Holier than knife, in hands of bearded priest,
                       That smote, in elder days, the innocent lamb,
                       In sacrifice to Heaven!


                       "Now, as we glide,
                       The forest deepens round us. The bald tracts,
                       Sterile, or glittering but with profitless sands,


Page 25


                       Depart; and through the glimmering woods behold
                       A darker soil, that on its bosom bears
                       A nobler harvest. Venerable oaks,
                       Whose rings are the successive records, scored
                       By Time, of his dim centuries; pines that lift,
                       And wave their coronets of green aloft,
                       Highest to heaven of all the aspiring wood;
                       And cedars, that with slower worship rise--
                       Less proudly, but with better grace, and stand
                       More surely in their meekness;--how they crowd,
                       As if 'twere at our coming, on the path!--
                       Not more majestic, not more beautiful,
                       The sacred shafts of Lebanon, though sung
                       By Princes, to the music of high harps,
                       Midway from heaven;--for these, as they, attest
                       HIS countenance who, to glory over all,
                       Adds grace in the highest, and above these groves
                       Hung brooding, when, beneath the creative word,
                       They freshen'd into green, and towering grew,
                       Memorials of his presence as his power!
                       --Alas! the forward vision! a few years
                       Will see these shafts o'erthrown. The profligate hands
                       Of avarice and of ignorance will despoil
                       The woods of their old glories; and the earth,
                       Uncherish'd, will grow barren, even as the fields,
                       Vast still, and beautiful once, and rich as these,
                       Which, in my own loved home, half desolate,
                       Attest the locust rule,--the waste, the shame,
                       The barbarous cultivation--which still robs
                       The earth of its warm garment and denies
                       Fit succor, which might recompense the soil,
                       Whose inexhaustible bounty, fitly kept,
                       Was meant to fill the granaries of man,
                       Through all earth's countless ages.


Page 26


                       "How the sward
                       Thickens in matted green. Each tufted cone
                       Gleams with its own blue jewel, dropt with white,
                       Whose delicate hues and tints significant,
                       Wake tenderness within the virgin's heart.
                       In love's own season. In each mystic cup
                       She reads sweet meaning, which commends the flower
                       Close to her tremulous breast. Nor seems it there
                       Less lovely than upon its natural couch,
                       Of emerald bright,--and still its hues denote
                       Love's generous spring-time, which, like generous youth,
                       Clouds never the dear aspect of its green,
                       With sickly doubts of what the autumn brings."


                       Boy as I was, and speaking still through books--
                       Not speaking from myself--I said: "Alas!
                       For this love's spring-time--quite unlike the woods,
                       It never knows but one; and, following close,
                       The long, long years of autumn, with her robes
                       Of yellow mourning, and her faded wreath
                       Of blighted flowers, that, taken from her heart,
                       She flings upon the grave-heap where it rots!"


                       "Ah! fie!" was straightway the reply of him,
                       The old benevolent master, who had seen,
                       Through thousand media yet withheld from me,
                       The life I had but dream'd of--"this is false!--
                       Love hath its thousand spring-times like the flowers,
                       If we are dutiful to our own hearts,
                       And nurse the truths of life, and not its dreams.
                       But not in hours like this, with such a show
                       Around us, of earth's treasures, to despond,
                       To sink in weariness and to brood on death.
                       Oh! be no churl, in presence of the Queen


Page 27


                       Of this most beautiful country, to withhold
                       Thy joy,--when all her court caparison'd,
                       Comes to her coronation in such suits
                       Of holiday glitter. It were sure a sin
                       In sight of Heaven, when now the humblest shrub
                       By the maternal bounty is set forth,
                       As for a bridal, with a jewell'd pomp
                       Of flowers in blue enamel--lustrous hues
                       Brightening upon their bosoms like sweet tints,
                       Caught from dissolving rainbows, as the sun
                       Rends with his ruddy shafts their violet robes,--
                       When gay vines stretching o'er the streamlet's breast
                       Link the opposing pines and arch the space,
                       Between, with a bright canopy of charms,
                       Whose very least attraction wears a look
                       Of life and fragrance!--when the pathway gleams,
                       As spread for march of Princess of the East,
                       With gems of living lustre--ravishing hues
                       Of purple, as if blood-dipp'd in the wounds
                       Of Hyacinthus,--him Apollo loved,
                       And slew though loving:--now, when over all
                       The viewless nymphs that tend upon the streams,
                       And watch the upward growth of April flowers,
                       Wave ever, with a hand that knows not stint,
                       Yet suffers no rebuke for profligate waste,
                       Their aromatic censers, 'till we breathe
                       With difficult delight;--not now to gloom
                       With feeble cares and individual doubts,
                       Of cloud to-morrow. It were churlish here,
                       Ungracious in the sovereign Beauty's sight,
                       Who rules this realm, the dove-eyed sovran, Spring!
                       This hour to sympathy--to free release
                       From toil, and sorrow, and doubt, and all the fears
                       That hang about the horizon of the heart,


Page 28


                       Making it feel its sad mortality,
                       Even when most sweet its joy--she hath decreed:
                       Let us obey her, though no citizens.


                       "How grateful grows the shade--mix'd shade of trees,
                       And clouds, that drifting o'er the sun's red path,
                       Curtain his awful brows! Ascend yon hill,
                       And we behold the valley from whose breast
                       Flows the sweet brooklet. Yon emblazon'd pine
                       Marks the abrupt transition to the shade,
                       Where, welling from the bankside, it steals forth,
                       A voice without a form. Through grassy slopes,
                       It wanders on unseen, and seems no more
                       Than their own glitter; yet, behold it now,
                       Where, jetting through its green spout, it bounds forth,
                       Capricious, as if doubtful where to flow,--
                       A pale white streak--a glimmering, as it were,
                       Cast by some trembling moonbow through the woods!


                       "Here let us rest. A shade like that of towers,
                       Wrought by the Moor in matchless arabesque,
                       Makes the fantastic ceiling,--leaves and stems,
                       Half-form'd, yet flowery tendrils, that shoot out,
                       Each wearing its own jewel,--that above
                       O'erhangs; sustain'd by giants of the wood,
                       Erect and high, like warriors gray with years,
                       Who lift their massive shields of holiest green,
                       On fearless arms, that still defy the sun,
                       And foil his arrows. At our feet they fall,
                       Harmless and few, and of the fresh turf make
                       A rich mosaic. Tremblingly, they creep,
                       Half-hidden only, to the blushing shoots
                       Of pinks, that never were abroad before,
                       And shrink from such warm instance. Here are flowers,


Page 29


                       Pied, blue, and white, with creepers that uplift
                       Their green heads, and survey the world around--
                       As modest merit, still ambitionless--
                       Only to crouch again; yet each sustains
                       Some treasure, which, were earth less profligate,
                       Or rich, were never in such keeping left.
                       And here are daisies, violets that peep forth
                       When winds of March are blowing, and escape
                       Their censure in their fondness. Thousands more,--
                       Look where they spread around us--at our feet--
                       Nursed on the mossy trunks of massive trees,
                       Themselves that bear no flowers--and by the stream--
                       Too humble and too numerous to have names!


                       "There is no sweeter spot along the path,
                       In all these western forests,--sweet for shade,
                       Or beauty, or reflection--sights and sounds--
                       All that can charm the wanderer, or o'ercome
                       His cares of travel. Here we may repose,
                       Subdued by gentlest murmurs of the noon,
                       Nor feel its heat, nor note the flight of hours,
                       That never linger here. How sweetly falls
                       The purring prattle of the stream above,
                       Where, roused by petty strife with vines and flowers,
                       It wakes with childish anger, nor forbears
                       Complaint, even when, beguiled by dear embrace,
                       It sinks to slumber in its bed below!
                       The red-bird's song now greets us from yon grove,
                       Where, starring all around with countless flowers,
                       Thick as the heavenly host, the dogwood glows,
                       Array'd in virgin white. There, mid the frowns
                       Of sombrous oaks, and where the cedar's glooms
                       Tell of life's evening shades, unchidden shines
                       The maple's silver bough, that seems to flash


Page 30


                       A sudden moonlight; while its wounded arms,
                       Stream with their own pure crimson, strangely bound
                       With yellow wreaths, flung o'er its summer hurts,
                       By the lascivious jessamine, that, in turn,
                       Capricious, creeps to the embrace of all.


                       "The eye unpain'd with splendor--with unrest
                       That mocks the free rapidity of wings,
                       Just taught to know their uses and go forth,
                       Seeking range but no employment--hath no quest
                       That Beauty leaves unsatisfied. The lull
                       Of drowsing sounds, from leaf, and stream, and tree
                       Persuades each sense, and to forgetfulness
                       Beguiles the impetuous thought. Upon the air
                       Sweetness hangs heavy, like the incense cloud
                       O'er the high altar, when cathedral rites
                       Are holiest, and our breathing for a while
                       Grows half suspended. Sullen, in the sky,
                       With legions thick, and banners broad unfurl'd,
                       The summer tempest broods. Below him wheels,
                       Like some fierce trooper of the charging host,
                       One fearless vulture. Earth beside us sleeps,
                       Having no terror; though an hour may bring
                       A thousand fiery bolts to break her rest.


                       "How natural is the face of woods and vales,
                       Trees, and the unfailing waters, spite of years,
                       Time's changes, and the havoc made by storm!
                       The change is all in man. Year after year,
                       I look for the old landmarks on my route,
                       And seldom look in vain. A darker moss
                       Coats the rough outside of the old gray rock;--
                       Some broad arm of the oak is wrench'd away,
                       By storm and thunder--through the hill-side wears


Page 31


                       A deeper furrow,--and the streams descend,
                       Sometimes, in wilder torrents than before--
                       But still they serve as guides o'er ancient paths,
                       For wearied wanderers. Still do they arise,
                       In groups of grandeur, an old family,
                       These great magnificent trees, that, as I look,
                       Fill me with loftiest thoughts, such as one feels
                       Beholding the broad wing of some strong bird,
                       Poised on its centre, motionless in air,
                       Yet sworn its master still. Not in our life,
                       Whose limit, still inferior, mocks our pride,
                       Reach they this glorious stature. At their feet,
                       Our young, grown aged like ourselves, may find
                       Their final couches, ere one vigorous shaft
                       Yields to the stroke of time. Beneath mine eyes,
                       All that makes beautiful this place of peace,
                       Wears the peculiar countenance which first
                       Won my delight and wonder as I came--
                       Then scarcely free from boyhood,--wild as he,
                       The savage Muscoghee, who, in that day,
                       Was master of these plains. His hunting range
                       Grasp'd the great mountains of the Cherokee,
                       The Apalachian ridge--extended west
                       By Talladega's valleys--by the streams
                       Of Tallas-hatchie--through the silent woods
                       Of gray Emuckfau, and where, deep in shades,
                       Rise the clear brooks of Autossee that flow
                       To Tallapoosa;--names of infamy
                       In Indian chronicle! 'Twas here they fell,
                       The numerous youth of Muscoghee,--the strong--
                       Patriarchs of many a tribe--dark seers renown'd,
                       As deeply read in savage mystery--
                       The Prophet Monohoee--priest as famed,
                       Among his tribe, as any that divined


Page 32


                       In Askelon or Ashdod;--stricken to the earth,
                       Body and spirit, in repeated strife,
                       With him, that iron-soul'd old chief, who came
                       Plunging from Tennessee.


                       "Below they stretch'd,
                       In sovran mastery o'er the wood and stream,
                       'Till the last waves of Choctawhatchie slept,
                       Subsiding, in the gulf. Such was the realm
                       They traversed, in that season of my youth,
                       When first beside this pleasant stream I sank,
                       In noontide slumber. What is now their realm,
                       And where are now their warriors? Streams that once
                       Soothed their exhaustion, satisfied their thirst--
                       Woods that gave shelter--plains o'er which they sped
                       In mimic battle--battle-fields whereon
                       Their bravest chieftains perish'd--trees that bore
                       The fruits they loved but rear'd not;--these remain,
                       But yield no answer for the numerous race,--
                       Gone with the summer breezes--with the leaves
                       Of perish'd autumn;--with the cloud that frowns
                       This moment in the heavens, and, ere the night,
                       Borne forward in the grasp of chainless winds,
                       Is speeding on to ocean.


                       "Wandering still--
                       That sterile and most melancholy life,--
                       They skirt the turbid streams of Arkansas,
                       And hunt the buffalo to the rocky steeps
                       Of Saladanha; and, on lonely nooks,
                       Ridge-barrens, build their little huts of clay,
                       As frail as their own fortunes. Dreams, perchance,
                       Restore the land they never more shall see;
                       Or, in meet recompense, bestow them tracts


Page 33


                       More lovely--vast, unmeasured tracts, that lie
                       Beyond those peaks, that, in the northern heavens,
                       Rise blue and perilous now. There, rich reserves
                       Console them in the future for the past;
                       And, with a Christian trust, the Pagan dreams
                       His powerful gods will recompense his faith,
                       By pleasures, in degree as exquisite
                       As the stern suffering he hath well endured.
                       His forest fancy, not untaught to soar,
                       Already, in his vision of midnight, sees
                       The fertile valleys; on his sight arise
                       Herds of the shadowy deer; and, from the copse,
                       Slow stealing, he beholds, with eager gaze,
                       The spirit-hunter gliding toward his prey,
                       In whose lithe form, and practised art, he views
                       Himself!--a noble image of his youth
                       That never more shall fail!


                       "We may not share
                       His rapture; for if thus the might of change
                       Mocks the great nation, sweeps them from the soil
                       Which bore, but could not keep--what is't with us,
                       Who muse upon their fate? Darkly, erewhile,
                       Thou spok'st of death and change, and I rebuked
                       The mood that scorn'd the present good--still fond
                       To brood above the past. Yet, in my heart,
                       Grave feelings rise to chide the undesert,
                       That knew not well to use the power I held,
                       In craving that to come. Have these short years
                       Wrought thus disastrously upon my strength,
                       As on the savage? What have I done to build
                       My better home of refuge; where the heart,
                       By virtue taught, by conscience made secure,
                       May safely find an altar, 'neath whose base


Page 34


                       The tempest rocks in vain? The red-man's fate
                       Belong'd to his performance. They who know
                       How to destroy alone, and not to raise,
                       Leaving a ruin for a monument,
                       Must perish as the brute. But I was taught
                       The nobler lesson, that, for man alone,
                       The maker gives the example of his power,
                       That he may build on him. What work of life--
                       The moral monument of the Christian's toil--
                       Stands, to maintain my memory after death,
                       Amongst the following footsteps? Sadly, the ear
                       Receives his question, who, with sadder speech,
                       Makes his own answer. Unperforming still,
                       He yet hath felt the mighty change that moves,
                       Progressive, as the march of mournful hours,
                       Still hurrying to the tomb. 'Tis on his cheek,
                       No more the cheek of boyhood--in his eye,
                       That laughs not with its wonted merriment,
                       And in his secret heart. 'Tis over all
                       He sees and feels--o'er all that he hath loved,
                       And fain would love, and must remember still!
                       Those gray usurpers, Death and Change, have been
                       Familiar in his household, and he stands,
                       Of all that grew around his innocent hearth,
                       Alone--the last! And this hath made him now
                       An exile,--better pleased with woods and streams,
                       Wild ocean, and the rocks that vex his waves,
                       Than, sitting in the city's porch, to hear
                       The hurry, and the thoughtless hum of trade!


                       "The charm is broken and the 'Traveller's Rest!'
                       The sun no longer beats with noonday heat
                       Above the pathway, and the evening bird,
                       Short wheeling through the air, on whirring wing,


Page 35


                       Counsels our flight with his. Another draught--
                       And to these pleasant waters--to the groves
                       That shelter'd--to the gentle breeze that soothed,
                       Even as a breath from heaven--to all sweet sights,
                       Melodious sounds and murmurs, that arise
                       To cheer the sadden'd spirit at its need--
                       Be thanks and blessing; gratitude o'er all,
                       To God in the Highest! He it is who guides
                       The unerring footstep--prompts the wayward heart
                       To kindly office--shelters from the sun--
                       Withholds the storm,--and, with his leaves and flowers,
                       Sweet freshening streams and ministry of birds,
                       Sustains, and succors, and invigorates;--
                       To Him, the praise and homage--Him o'er all!"

THE MOCK-BIRD.


                       WHAT has winter left for thee,
                       That, within the ancient tree,
                       Thou dost linger, in thy gray,
                       Sober vestments, like some friar,
                       Haunting still the old abbaye,
                       Wasted by the strife and fire?
                       Wherefore house thee thus alone,
                       When the other tribes have gone?--
                       With them to the forest speed:
                       Leave to human heart the grief,
                       That in woe and dusky weed,
                       When winter twilight's cold and brief,
                       Walks sad with hooded Thought, through perish'd wood and leaf.


Page 36


                       Sure I know thee!--thou art he,
                       That, with reckless minstrelsy,
                       Lately sung--while all the grove,
                       By the spring-buds won to joy,
                       Bathed in fragrance, breathed of love--
                       Ditty of a wild annoy;
                       Mocking all with scornful strain,
                       Till the passion grew to pain,
                       And each humbler warbler fled,
                       Silent, in his shame and fear,
                       Thou the while, with wing outspread,
                       Sweetly voiced in spite of sneer,
                       Throned on the topmost bough, or darting wild through air.


                       Thou hast pleasures. I have seen,
                       When the buxom spring was green,
                       How thy nest was tended--how
                       Thou didst gather straw and blade,
                       And, within the ancient bough,
                       Sit, the stem and leaf to braid.--
                       Patient was thy watch, and stern
                       Lesson might the serpent learn,--
                       Crawling where thy young ones lie,
                       With his cruel, keen desire,--
                       From thy eagle-raging eye,
                       Showing all thy soul on fire,
                       While talon, beak and wing declared the warrior's ire.


                       Patient, as thy young ones grow,
                       Use of feeble wings to show,
                       How, to glide from bough to bough,
                       How with gradual flight, to bear,
                       Poised on spreading pinion now,
                       Through the yielding heart of air;


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                       And, when free of wing, and high,
                       Winging, singing, through the sky,--
                       Then, with thy triumphant strain,
                       Matchless in unmeasured might,
                       As if born of madden'd brain,
                       Ecstasied with deep delight,
                       Whirling in voice aloft, in far, capricious flight.


                       Why the cynic temper?--why
                       Still that strain of mockery?
                       Art thou truer? Dost thou sneer,
                       As thou haply know'st that none
                       Of the love songs spring must hear,
                       Speaks fidelity but one?
                       Thou art constant--that I know--
                       To thy young ones,--to the foe,--
                       To thy mate, and to the tree,
                       That beside my window-sill,
                       Many a year, has been to thee
                       Cottage-home and empire still,--
                       Thou wast the sovereign there, and ever hadst thy will.


                       Still maintain it--thou alone,
                       Of the birds, when summer's gone,
                       Keep'st thy dwelling, hold'st thy place,
                       As if in thy breast there grew
                       Something, which, to human race,
                       Kept thee dedicate and true.
                       Cynical thy song, but mine
                       Might be cynical like thine,
                       Could I deem with thee, that all
                       Of the vows in spring we hear,
                       Were forgotten by the fall;--
                       But I shrink from doubt so drear;--
                       I yield my heart to faith, and love when thou wouldst sneer.


Page 38

AUTUMN TWILIGHT.


                       THERE is a soft haze hanging on you hill,
                       Tinged with a purple light. How beautiful,
                       And yet, how cold! 'Tis the first robe put on,
                       With gloomy foretaste of a gloomier hour,
                       By the sad Autumn. Well may she repine,--
                       With heavy dread of winter at her heart,
                       Adverse to present sweetness as to hope,
                       Which never cheers her fortunes. She is doom'd--
                       Survivor of a race that left no heirs,
                       And she, the mourner of the beautiful,
                       Whose treasure, in the past to which she glides,
                       Was but a bright decay, a perishing bloom,
                       The bounty of a love whose dearest gifts
                       Best show in desolation. The sweet green,
                       The summer flush of love--the golden bloom
                       That came with flowers in April, and brought sweets
                       Whose purity might teach a faith that life
                       Were also in their breathing--all are gone!
                       The green grows pallid--the warm, virgin flush,
                       That was in summer's eye, and on her cheek,
                       A glory all too precious for a dream,--
                       Too precious far for mortal certainty--
                       Fleets all--as keen, the breezes from the hills
                       Sweep icily o'er the meadows. All the bright hues,
                       That graced the flowers and hemispheric crowns
                       Of trees grown haughty in a birthday dress,
                       Seem vanishing with the sunset. The last rays
                       That drink their purple brightness with their lives,
                       Fade upwards through the forest--a sad flush,
                       That lothly leaves the twilight, and a while
                       Lingers upon the hill-tops, as surveying


Page 39


                       The empires that it forfeits. Now the winds,
                       Slow rising as from caverns of the night,
                       With trailing robes of darkness, and broad arms,
                       Stretched out, in action suited to the dirge
                       That speaks the mournful ruin of their homes,
                       Wail heavily through the branches; while the leaves,
                       Saddest of mourners! flung on summer's grave,
                       Lament her in the silence of true grief!
                       Ah! mock me not that thus I mourn with them;
                       The sad heart's wisdom is to weep enough!--
                       I hear your lesson, but of what avail?
                       Since, while it teaches worthlessness of grief,
                       It still acknowledges the pregnant cause
                       That, in the very uselessness of tears,
                       Compels our tears most freely. You discourse,
                       To feeling, with a counsel that prevents
                       All feeling; and unless you stifle her,
                       You teach most idly. Never yet was grief
                       Fit moralist,--and that philosophy,
                       Which will not take its color from the heart
                       It seeks to fortify against the cloud,
                       Reaches no sacred chord of sympathy,
                       Responsive with sweet echoes. All your laws
                       Teach sorrow when you teach her hopelessness.
                       To bid the sacred current cease to flow,
                       'Tis needful first you freeze it; and what gain,
                       To him with dear affections, o'er whose grave,
                       He still encourages dear memories,
                       That feeling should be made secure from hurt,
                       By gross and cold insensibility?
                       Foregoing nature, what do we acquire
                       But forfeiture? As well persuade the flower
                       To grow to stone, lest, rifled by the storm,
                       Its premature bloom shall perish. If unwise


Page 40


                       To yield to sorrow the sole sovereignty,
                       As little wise to substitute for this,
                       The apathy, that, still rejecting grief,
                       Grows ignorant of all rapture. You declaim--
                       With the grave studied eloquence of books,
                       Writ by cold monks in the ascetic cell,
                       That life is full of changes.--Be it so!
                       These changes ever are from joy to woe,
                       And woe to joy again. To conquer one
                       Is scarce to know the other. In your calm,
                       'Tis easy to declare that things of life,
                       By the inevitable laws of things,
                       Are also things of death; but not the less
                       Find we a sacred certainty of grief,
                       Even in this very knowledge. Death, you say,
                       Still harvests forms that love, not less than forms
                       That simply live; and folly 'tis to mourn,
                       That the dear life whose presence was a joy
                       And fragrance, that forever brought us joy,
                       Is destined to as sure an apathy
                       As the poor flowers we tread on.
                       Happy he,
                       Perchance--and yet I think not--who can thus
                       Prose calmly over nature, and the fate
                       Of her dear offspring in whatever fields.
                       But mine is not this happiness;--nor mine,
                       The thought that happiness may light her fire,
                       From such dry chips of doctrine. The rich sap,
                       May from the wounded tree gush forth in tears,
                       The green rind feel its hurts, and something lose
                       Of verdure in the injury which it feels.
                       But teach the bough, how better were it lopt,
                       And flung into the fire, than suffering thus,
                       From the keen hurts of the too wanton axe


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                       The wound will heal. You point me to the scars;
                       But while it still hath rind for newer hurts,
                       And fresh sap still to flow from other wounds,
                       The scars are but in proof of strength to bear,
                       As well as hurts to suffer. Tears, for me,
                       Bring sweet relief for what is lost or borne,
                       As teaching still of sensibilities
                       For future feeling; whether joy or woe,
                       Or gain or loss;--and, in this consciousness,
                       One finds a better solace for the past,
                       Than in that cold philosophy which stills
                       The too susceptible pulse, lest it should throb,
                       Some day, with fever. Yet, that fever throb,
                       Itself, declares the warm vitality
                       Still looking forth with hope.
                       And still you chide,
                       That grief should waste upon inferior things,
                       Leaves of the forest, flowers of the summer day,
                       Fruits of a season's tribute, and frail fancies
                       Born of the dew and sunshine, for the hour,
                       The sorrows that might find excuse, if given
                       For loss of human treasure--forms and greatness,
                       Which fill society with sense of virtue,
                       And still commend to love that fierce ambition
                       That makes even love a sacrifice in turn!
                       Alas! we know not what is worthy, what is great,
                       And weep from fancy, rather than from law;
                       And fancy is a law, and in our feelings
                       Hath charter'd rights, and shapes them at her pleasure,
                       To make us weep, if need be; tears and sorrows
                       Being as much her proper properties,
                       As sunshine and gay laughter, sport and flight.
                       Yet have I something of a plea beyond,
                       In the condition which has shut me out


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                       From much, that, in the common social life,
                       Commends itself unto humanity,
                       As only worth its care. Mine was a lot
                       Peculiar in its loneliness of aim,
                       If not distinction. Childhood found me first
                       A sad bewilder'd orphan--one who stood
                       Alone among his fellow,--and when wrong'd,
                       Knew not the lap in which to hide his head,
                       Nor friendly ear in which to pour complaint.
                       I had no parent's tendance. Never mine
                       A sister's lips have hallow'd while they press'd;--
                       No brother call'd me his;--no natural ties
                       Embraced, and train'd, and cherish'd my wild youth,
                       Which still went erring into devious ways,
                       Sorrowing as much as sinning, in a mood
                       That craved love only for its guide to goodness;--
                       And this alone it found not--or in vain!--
                       And thus, with strong affections, still in exile,
                       Denied where they sought favor, I have turn'd
                       To the inanimate, unspeaking creatures,
                       That grew about or wanton'd in my path--
                       Having no scorn or hatred in their hearts--
                       Having no voice of censure on their tongues--
                       For that most needed sympathy of nature,
                       Which answer'd best the hunger in my heart.
                       Thus were my footsteps won into the forest,
                       Thus did I seek these groves as if in worship,
                       With regular tendance, and a meek observance,
                       That suffer'd not the chant of winds, the sighing,
                       That seem'd most human, in the pine's great branches,--
                       The fall of leaf, the shadows of the thicket,
                       Or flutter of the gay bird o'er the pathway,--
                       To 'scape me;--moralizing at each motion,
                       Something, that as it soothed the troubled feeling,


Page 43


                       Was surely not philosophy. My rambles
                       Still brought me what I sought;--and these pale flowers,
                       And the green leaves, now yellow, at our feet,
                       Were something more to me than leaves and flowers.
                       They were my kindred. Now, that they are gone,
                       I weep them as a loss of family,
                       And tread among them with a cautious step,
                       A sad, slow motion, and with trembling heart,
                       As I were reading, in some ancient church-yard,
                       The names of dear ones precious to my childhood.

BALLAD.


                       OH! bury him quickly, and utter no word
                       Of the memory sadden'd by sorrow so long;
                       But when the cold stranger shall say that he err'd,
                       Then tell the dark tale of his crueller wrong.
                       We may not approve, but when others condemn,
                       'Twere crime that defence of his heart to forbear,
                       And show that his faults were all prompted by them,--
                       They could goad him to danger, then fly from him then


                       You saw him for many long days ere he fell,
                       In chains and in solitude, sad but serene;
                       'Tis grateful to know that he battled it well,
                       While his spirit grew strong in the gloom of the scene.
                       They thought him all callous to feeling and shame,--
                       Ah! little they knew him;--the spirit he bore
                       Once aim'd at, and sigh'd for, as lofty a fame
                       As shines on the pages of history's lore.


Page 44


                       But pile the dank sod which no stone shall adorn,
                       No hand ever freshen with shrub or with flower;
                       We bury him coldly--we leave him forlorn--
                       And midnight was never more dark than this hour.
                       It is but a year since all proudly he stood,
                       Brave, bright, unassuming--the sought, the preferr'd--
                       Upheld by the strong, and beloved by the good--
                       Now--bury him quickly, and utter no word!

HAST THOU A SONG FOR A FLOWER.

I.


                       HAST thou a song for a flower,
                       Such as, if breathed in its ear,
                       Would waken in beauty's own bower
                       The spirit most fit to be there?
                       Then, minstrel, I challenge thy power--
                       Such song, if thou hast, sing it here!--
                       Here, where the breeze o'erwearied,
                       With his travel o'er ocean creeps,
                       And on the green leaf by her lattice,
                       Sinks languidly down and sleeps.

II.


                       For her the sweet music thou bringest
                       Must in a true spirit be wrought,
                       And the passion of mine thou singest
                       Must be pure as the child's first thought.
                       If none such within thee springest,
                       Away, for thy presence is naught.
Page 45


                       Far better the breeze, at waking,
                       Should tell her that hopeless I come,
                       With itself, to the leaf at her lattice,
                       And laid me down, dreaming but dumb.

ENIGMA.


                       I AM most potent of all earthly powers,
                       Save one. I penetrate the loftiest towers,
                       As freely as the cottage, in all hours;
                       I paralyze the strongest with a spell;
                       Soothe the most suffering; shut the fatal knell
                       From out the ears of misery; beguile
                       The saddest mourner to a hopeful smile;
                       Bring cheerful guests into the solitude,
                       That minister unto the sufferer's mood,
                       So that he straight forgets what gave him pain,
                       And wins the strength and hope of youth again.
                       No will can combat mine, no might withstand;
                       And man before me bows throughout the land,
                       As at a tyrant's progress; yet with joy,
                       For that I sway to succor, not destroy.
                       Yet, do I arm myself with terrors still,
                       When they are needful. I can bring the thrill,
                       Of fear or horror, to the guilty soul,
                       And make him hear the far-off thunders roll,
                       As at his feet; can swift around him group,
                       Even at a whisper, a most terrible troop
                       Of his assailing enemies. My spell,
                       Most strong when softest, is invincible.
                       You strive with me in vain. I stretch a wing,


Page 46


                       Unseen above you. In your ears I sing,
                       In most unnoted accents. Round your neck
                       I weave such subtle chains as never break,
                       Save with my satisfied purpose. Your white breast,
                       You do unfold me, whether as a guest,
                       Obtrusive, or implored and much caress'd.
                       You may not shut from me your secret thought,
                       Your passion or your guilt. Unask'd, unsought,
                       You whisper to me your best hope and fear,
                       What you endure of grief, what joys endear,
                       And whom you love and hate. And I, who hear,
                       Still keep your secret;--to your service bound,
                       Still faithful, still unbidden, I am found,
                       Whene'er the season calls me, or the place;
                       An angel you may hold me, or a grace;
                       Devoted as the first, and as the last,
                       Still blessing--though the sights I bring may blast!
                       My bond of service never shall be broke,
                       Till I no more may spell, or thou invoke,
                       Then, when perforce I leave thee, I resign
                       Thy charge to one, a kinswoman of mine,
                       Of greater powers, but hostile still to thine.

SONNET.

SYMPATHY BETWEEN THE PAST AND FUTURE.


                       WOULD we go forward boldly, and gain heart
                       For farther progress, we must pause a while,
                       And gaze upon the path, for many a mile,
                       We follow'd when we first grew bold to start;--
                       That so much has been traversed, is a goad


Page 47


                       To fresh endeavor; and the eye grows bright,
                       With expectation, as the baffled sight
                       Would vainly compass all the o'er-trodden road;--
                       The pathways of the future will grow clear,
                       When the first fresh beginnings of the march
                       Lie bright beneath the broad and sheltering arch;
                       And, repossess'd of childhood, we are near
                       Heaven's sources,--for the true humanity
                       Keeps past and future still in either eye.

TO THE BREEZE.

AFTER A PROTRACTED CALM IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.

I.


                       THOU com'st at last! Our sorrow is at end;
                       Thou com'st, and hast our blessing, pleasant breeze.
                       Yet where hast thou been wandering, fickle friend?
                       Where, when the midnight gather'd to her brow
                       Her pale and silent minister, wast thou?
                       On what far, sullen, solitary seas,
                       Piping the mariner's requiem, didst thou tend
                       The home-returning bark,
                       Curling the white foam o'er her plunging prow,--
                       White, when the rolling waves about her all were dark?

II.


                       Ah! thou didst woo her sweetly as she lay,
                       Still idly rocking on the unconscious deep;
                       Thou sought'st her with a breath
                       Of spicy odor from Sonora's vales;
Page 48


                       And, with the sweetest of imploring gales,
                       That seem'd like life to death,
                       Filling her yellow sails,
                       Beguiled her on her way.
                       With sudden voice, like that of mountain bird
                       Singing, thou wok'st her from her dreary sleep,
                       Until her every pulse of life grew stirr'd:
                       Her fluttering pennant was the first to fly,
                       Then the great vans swell'd out delightedly,
                       And, with the song of land he loves to hear,
                       Thou bad'st the mariner cheer!

III.


                       Oh! well thou know'st the mission that is thine,
                       And, when in sluggish bonds old ocean slept,
                       Making of life no sign,--
                       While the faint moaning o'er his breast that crept
                       Seem'd like the breathings of eternity
                       Above the grave of the unburied Time,--
                       Then didst thou clothe thyself in wings of prime,
                       Then speed thy work of mercy.--How the tar,
                       His form reclined along the burning deck,
                       Stretch'd ever more his eager eye afar,
                       Still watching for thy coming--for the speck,
                       Marking thy shadow, from some giant steep,
                       Down darting to the embraces of the deep!

IV.


                       Late, but not faithless to thy charge, thy flight
                       Soon came to bless his sight.
                       So long a fond and watching worshipper,
                       He knew to hail thy coming, nor to err,
                       No matter what thy shape, or whence thy wing.
Page 49


                       Thou wert his passion. By the dearest names
                       He did implore thy presence: "My sweet breeze,
                       Whither! oh whither!"--I have heard him sing
                       Rudely, but with a strength that feeling tames
                       To fondness in rough natures--"My delight!
                       Where art thou--where, oh! beauty of the seas,--
                       My breeze, my pleasant breeze!"

V.


                       Were all the charms by mortal passion sung
                       As worthy of the tongue!
                       Ah! breath of life to nature, thou art sure
                       The image of that ever young and pure,
                       Superior spirit, which, when all was dim,
                       Ere yet creation sang her choral hymn,
                       And darkness brooded o'er the stagnant deep,
                       Moved on the waters, waking them from sleep,
                       And rousing them to purposes of Him
                       For whom all wings have flight!
                       Born in the solemn night,
                       Ere skies had birth in bright,
                       With uncreated watchers for the sight,--
                       Thine was the music, through the firmament
                       By the fond nature sent,
                       To hail the happy birth,
                       And guide to sea and earth
                       The glorious wing, the blessing eye of light!

VI.


                       Music to us no less,
                       Thou com'st in our distress,
                       To ope the pathway, all made clear by thee,
                       Through the wide waste of sea!
Page 50


                       Soothing, thou bring'st to him who goes alone
                       Unwatch'd and unremember'd o'er the wave,
                       Perchance his grave!
                       Should he there perish, to thy simple moan
                       What hope to add, from human tenderness,
                       One fond imploring tone!

VII.


                       I bless thee, gentle breeze!
                       Sweet minister to many a fond desire,
                       Thou bear'st me to my sire,
                       Thou, and these rolling seas!
                       What, O dear God of this great element,
                       Are we before thee, that its breath is sent,
                       Obedient to young love and eager hope?
                       But that its pinion with our path is blent,
                       We had been doom'd, blind, weak, and dark, to grope,
                       Where plummet's cast is vain, and human art
                       Lacking all chart!

LYRICAL BALLAD.


                       IF the fruit of the tree was delicious,
                       Yet how keen was the bitter it brought;
                       As the zephyr, though sweet, is capricious,
                       With blight as with luxury fraught:
                       Who roves in a garden, ungrateful
                       For the tendance that nourish'd its bloom?
                       Better fly to the wilderness hateful,
                       Where nothing is false but the gloom!


Page 51


                       We are still the vain creatures of vision,
                       Where the eyes only torture the soul;
                       Our worship still meets with derision,
                       And we gain, but by flying the goal.
                       He dreams not, the victim, self-banish'd
                       From the shrine which has mock'd at his prayer,
                       That 'tis only when pleasure has vanish'd
                       He safely may harbor with Care!


                       The doubt that still hangs o'er the dreaming,
                       Spoils the rapture that follows its show;
                       As the flash of the lightning, whose gleaming
                       Reveals the deep blackness below:
                       The spirit of Love, thus, in flying,
                       Still glooms the sad Being it woos,
                       And finds its best solace in sighing,
                       With a doubt of the heart it subdues!

THE NEW MOON.


                       "BEND thy bow, Dian! shoot thy silver shaft
                       Through the dark bosom of yon murky cloud,
                       That, like a shroud,
                       Hangs heavy o'er the dwelling of sweet night!"


                       And the sky laugh'd,
                       Even as I spake the words; and, in the west,
                       The columns of her mansion shone out bright!
                       A glory hung above Eve's visible brow,
                       The maiden empress!--and she glided forth
                       In beauty, looking down on the tranced earth,


Page 52


                       So fondly, that its rivulets below
                       Gush'd out to hail her, as if then first blest
                       With the soft motion of their voiceless birth.
                       A sudden burst of brightness o'er me broke--
                       The rugged crags of the dull cloud were cleft
                       By her sharp arrow, and the edges left,--
                       How sweetly wounded!--silver'd with the stroke;
                       Thus making a fit pathway for her march
                       Through the blue arch!

FOREST REVERIE BY STARLIGHT.


                       THE night has settled down. A dewy hush
                       Hangs o'er the forest, save when fitful gusts
                       Vex the tall pines with murmurs. Spring is here,
                       With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom,
                       And voice of many minstrels. Balmy airs
                       Creep gently to my bosom, and beguile
                       Each feeling into freshness. I will forth,
                       And gaze upon the stars--the uncounted stars--
                       Holding high watch in heaven--still high, still bright,
                       Though the storm gathers round the sacred hill,
                       And shakes the cottage roof-tree. There they shine,
                       In well-remember'd youth. They bear me back,
                       With strange persuasiveness, to the old time
                       And happy hours of boyhood. There's no change
                       In all their virgin glory. Clouds that roll,
                       And congregate in the azure deeps of heaven,
                       In wild debate and darkness, pass away,
                       Leaving them bright in the same beauty still,
                       Defying, in the progress of the years,


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                       All change; and rising ever from the night,
                       In soft and dewy splendor as at first,
                       When, golden footprints of the Eternal steps,
                       They paved the walks of heaven, and grew to eyes
                       Beckoning the feet of man. Ah! would his eyes
                       Behold them, with meet yearning to pursue
                       The holy heights they counsel! Would his soul
                       Claim kindred with the happy forms that now
                       Walk by their blessed guidance--walk in heaven,
                       In paths of the Good Shepherd! Then were earth
                       Deserving of their beauty: then were man,
                       Already following, step by step, their points
                       To the One Presence--at each onward step
                       Leaving new lights that cheer his brother on,
                       In a like progress. Happily they shine,
                       As in his hours of music and of youth,
                       When every breath of the fresh-coming breeze,
                       And every darting vision of the cloud,
                       Gleam of the day and glimmer of the night,
                       Brought to the craving spirit harmony,
                       And bless'd each fond assurance of the hope
                       With sweetest confirmation. Still they shine,
                       And dear the story of their early prime--
                       And his--the conscious worshipper may read
                       In their enduring presence. Happiest tales
                       Of innocence and joy, events and hours,
                       That never more return. These they record,
                       Renew and hallow, with their own pure rays,
                       When blight of age is on the frame--when grief
                       Weighs the vex'd heart to earth--when all beside,
                       The father, and the mother, and the friend,
                       Speak in decaying syllables--dread proof
                       Of worse decay!--and that sad chronicler,
                       Feeble and failing in excess of years,


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                       Old Memory, tottering from his mossy cell,
                       Stops with the imperfect legend on his lips,
                       And drowses into dream. No change like this
                       Falls on their golden-eyed veracity,
                       Takes from the silvery truths that line their lips,
                       Or stales their lovely aspects. Well they know
                       The years they never feel; see, without dread,
                       The storm that rises and the bolt that falls,
                       The age that chills, the apathy that chokes,
                       The death that withers all that blooms below,
                       Yet smile they on as ever, sweetly bright,
                       Serene, in their security from all
                       The change that troubles man!


                       Yet, hill and tree
                       Change with the season--with the alter'd heart,
                       And weak and withering muscle. Ancient groves,
                       That shelter'd me in childhood, have given place
                       To gaudy gardens; and the solemn oaks,
                       That heard the first prayers of my youthful heart
                       For greatness, and a life beyond their own--
                       Lo! in their stead, a maiden's slender hand
                       Tutors green vines, and purple buds, and flowers,
                       As frail as her own fancies. At each step
                       I miss some old companion of my walks,
                       Memorial of the happy hours of youth,
                       Whose presence had brought back a thousand joys,
                       And images that took the shape of joys--
                       The loveliest masquers, and all innocent--
                       That vanish'd with the rest. I would recall,
                       But vainly, each lost presence; and the sigh
                       That mourns the dear memorials now no more,
                       Counsels desires that to the mortal eye
                       Commend no mortal images. The thought


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                       Grasps vainly, right and left, whereon to hold,
                       And droops, as one grown hopeless of support,
                       That once, with native strength for every strife,
                       Scorn'd succor from without. The earth denies
                       Her bosom for repose--the shade is gone
                       That offer'd grateful shelter to the eye;
                       And the dear aspects, which had each its birth
                       Twinn'd with some proud affection,--they depart,
                       In mournful robes of shadow that disguise
                       Each lineament of love.


                       Ah! not with these,
                       The perishing things that suffer from decay,
                       Seek we the sweet memorials of our youth--
                       The youth that seem'd immortal--youth that bloom'd
                       With hues and hopes of heaven,--firing its heart
                       With aspirations for eternal life,
                       Perpetual triumphs, and the ambitious thirst
                       Still for new fields and empires of domain!
                       In tokens of the soul--that craving thirst
                       That earth supplies not--in the undying things,
                       That man can never change--that mock his fate
                       With never-changing sweet serenity,
                       Assured of a security that builds
                       Upon the steadfast rock, 'gainst which the storm
                       Beats through successive ages, but to prove
                       How fast its bulwarks--how eternally
                       Sunk in the innate principle of things,
                       It draws, as to the inevitable heart,
                       Its growth from all the rest!--to these we turn
                       For the memorials precious to our youth:--
                       That season when the Fancy is a god--
                       Hope a conviction--Love an instinct--Truth,
                       The generous friend that ever by our side,


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                       Hath still the sweetest story for the ear,
                       And wins us on our way!


                       Ah! stars,--though taught,
                       That ye too, in the inevitable doom,
                       Must perish like the rest--grow dim and fade,
                       Having no eyes of beauty for the eyes
                       That look to ye in beauty--yet your light
                       Brings back all boyhood's blessings! In my heart
                       Stand up the old divinities anew.
                       I hear their well-known voices, see their eyes
                       Shining once more in mine, and straight forget
                       That I have wept their loss in many tears,
                       Mix'd with reproaches--bitter, sad regrets,
                       Self-chidings, and the memory of wrongs,
                       Endured, inflicted, suffer'd, and avenged!


                       As I behold ye now, ye bring me back
                       The treasures of my boyhood. All is mine
                       That I had once surrender'd. Scarce a scene
                       Of childish prank or merriment, but comes,
                       With all the freshness of the infant time,
                       Back to my recollection. The old school,
                       The noisy rabble, the tumultuous cries--
                       The green, remember'd in the wintry day,
                       For the encounter of the flying ball--
                       The marble play, the hoop, the top, the kite,
                       And, when the ambition prompted higher games,
                       The battle-array and conflict--friends and foes
                       Mix'd in the wild melée, with shouts of might
                       Triumphant o'er the clamors of retreat!


                       These, in their regular seasons, with their deeds,
                       Their incidents of happiness or pain,


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                       In the revival of old memories,
                       Your lovely lights restore: nor these alone!
                       The chroniclers of riper years ye grow,
                       And loftier thoughts and fancies; when my heart
                       First took ye for sweet counsellors, and loved
                       To wander in your evening lights, and dream
                       Of other eyes that watch'd ye from afar,
                       At the same hour--and of another heart
                       That gush'd in yearning sympathy with mine!
                       And, as the years flew by--as I became
                       Warier, yet more devoted--fix'd and strong--
                       Growing in the affections and the thoughts
                       When growth had ceased in stature--then, when life,
                       Wing'd with impetuous passions, darted by--
                       And voices grew into a spell, that hung,
                       Through the dim hours of night, about the heart,
                       Making it tremble strangely;--when dark eyes
                       Were planets, having power upon the soul,
                       As fated, dimly, at nativity;--
                       And older men were monitors too dull
                       For passionate youth,--and all our oracles
                       Were still mysterious counsellors to love,
                       And faith, and confident trust for all who brought
                       The meet credential of a faith like ours,
                       Gushing with sweetest overflow, and fond
                       Of its own tears and weaknesses.--Ah! then,
                       How precious was your language! What dear strains
                       Of promise ye pour'd forth,--in sounds that made
                       The impatient soul leap upward into flight,
                       The skies stoop down and yield to every wish,
                       While earth, embraced by heaven, instinct with love,
                       And blessing, had forgot all fears of death!


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                       The brightness of your age, in every change,
                       Mocks that which palsies man. Dim centuries
                       That saw your fresh beginnings with delight,
                       Are swallow'd in the ocean-flood of years,
                       Or crowd with ruin the gray sands of Time,
                       Who still, with appetite and thirst unslaked--
                       Active but unappeased--voracious still,
                       Must swallow what remains. Sweet images,
                       Whose memories wake our song--whose forms abide--
                       The heart's ideal standards of delight--
                       Are gone to people those dim realms of shade,
                       Where rules the Past--that sovereign, single-eyed,
                       Whose back is on the sun!


                       Ah! when all these--
                       The joys we have recorded, and the forms
                       Whose very names were blessings--forms of youth,
                       Of childhood, and the hours we know not twice,
                       Which won us first, and carried us away
                       To strange conceits of coming happiness,
                       But to be thought on as delusions all,
                       Yet such delusions as we still must love!--
                       When these have parted from us--when the sky
                       Hath lost the charm of its ethereal blue,
                       And the nights lose their freshness--and the trees
                       No longer have a welcome shade for love--
                       And the moon wanes into a paler bright,
                       And all the poetry that stirr'd the leaves,
                       And all the perfume that was on the flowers--
                       Music upon the winds--wings in the void--
                       The carpeted valley's wealth of green--the dew
                       That morning flings on the enamell'd moss--
                       The hill-side, the acclivity, the grove--
                       Sweeter that Solitude is sleeping there!--


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                       Are gone, as the last hope of misery:--
                       When the last dream of a deluded life
                       Hath left us to awaken--not to feel
                       The golden morning, but the appalling night,
                       When sight itself is weariness, and hope
                       No longer rifles from the barren path
                       One flower of promise!--when disease is nigh,
                       And every bone is racking--and the thought
                       Is of dry, nauseous, ineffectual drugs,
                       Which we must painfully swallow--but in vain--
                       And not a hand is nigh to quench the thirst
                       With one poor cup of water,--or our prayer
                       Is answer'd with indifferent mood, that shows
                       The moderate service irksome--when the eye
                       Strains for the closing heavens, and the fair sky
                       Which it is losing,--and dread images,
                       Meetly successive, of the sable pall,
                       The melancholy carriage, and the clod,
                       Make us to shudder with a stifling fear;--
                       When we have bade adieu to earthly things,
                       Fought through that long last struggle, still the worst,
                       Wrestling with self,--and winning that best boon,
                       Of resignation to the sovereign will,
                       We may no longer baffle or delude,--
                       And offer'd up our prayer of penitence,
                       Doubtful of its acceptance, yet prepared,
                       As well as our condition will admit,
                       For the last change in an unhappy life!--
                       Oh! then methinks 'twould still rejoice mine eyes,
                       Would they throw wide my casement, and permit
                       A last fond gaze upon the placid sky,
                       And all the heavenly watchers which have seen
                       My fair beginning, and my rising youth,
                       And my tall manhood. Oh! dear friend that hear'st


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                       This chant--thy office may be soon to ask,
                       How shall I soothe the suffering which I see?--
                       With what sweet service to the friend I love,
                       But have not power to save, prepare his couch,
                       And robe him for his rest? Think of this song,
                       And of thy own sweet thoughts and sympathies.
                       Give him to see the blessed skies--the Night--
                       Her azure garments glowing with great eyes,
                       That look on him with love;--and, at the hour
                       Which brings thee to thy parting, it will glad
                       Thy heart, in that sad struggle, to behold
                       Their sweet serene of smiles. 'Twill bear thee back,
                       With all the current of thy better thoughts,
                       To the pure practice of thy innocent years.--
                       Repentant, then, of errors, evil deeds,
                       Imaginings of darkness, thou wilt weep
                       Over thy recollections; and thy tears,
                       The purest tribute of thy contrite heart,
                       Will be as a sweet prayer sent up to heaven!

INSCRIPTION FOR THERMOPYLÆ.


                       STRANGER! thou stand'st upon Thermopylæ!
                       The pass that led into the heart of Greece,
                       But gave no passage save through greater hearts:
                       They keep it still.--Their graves are at thy feet.


Page 61

BY THE EDISTO.


                       RIVER, that still go'st brightly,
                       Though sweeping to the sea,
                       And chantest daily, nightly,
                       Thy own dirge-melody;
                       Methinks thy murmur strengthens
                       The purpose in my soul,
                       And, as thy progress lengthens,
                       I seem to see my goal.


                       I seek, as thou, the ocean,
                       Great sea of human life,
                       Won by its wild commotion,
                       And striving with its strife:
                       Vainly, we fondly linger
                       Where green shades woo our stay;
                       We both obey a finger
                       That points us on our way.


                       Yet, downward as thou rovest,
                       How glad thy waters make
                       The green banks which thou lovest,
                       And the zephyrs where they wake!
                       They wake among thy willows,
                       And they laugh with welcome still,
                       As thy downward-lapsing billows
                       Lift their lilies with a thrill.


                       The blue-bird stoops to carol,
                       As thy glittering streams go by,
                       And the bay-tree and the laurel
                       Bend above thee with a sigh;


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                       But the sigh is of a pleasure
                       That may take no wilder voice;
                       And the great pines share the treasure,
                       And, to welcome thee, rejoice.


                       If thus my course may gladden
                       While I hurry to the deep,
                       Sure my heart shall never sadden
                       When 'tis swallow'd up in sleep;
                       I, too, shall hear sweet voices,
                       That requite me as I run,
                       And the pleasant thought rejoices,
                       I shall only grieve when gone.

THE APPROACH OF SUMMER.


                       Now, darting through green leaves, and bringing flowers,
                       Fresh blooming, borrow'd from a thousand bowers
                       Where nature fills her lap with fruits, and gleams
                       The carpet of the prairies, stars and streams,--
                       Comes forth, all wantoning in joyous dreams,
                       With eye that laughs in beauty, golden hair,
                       Curling and floating o'er a neck as fair
                       As the young moon, when in the dusky vale
                       She lifts her virgin crescent, soft and pale,--
                       The flush'd and revelling Summer. At her glance
                       Sinks the old wizard, Winter, into trance;
                       No more the mighty potentate, who shook
                       His icy sceptre over field and brook,


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                       But, tottering into apathy, that goes,
                       Soulless and sad, to polar home of snows;
                       The realm usurp'd made glad in his decline,
                       Made free to bourgeon in its flower and vine;
                       The steel-bound waters rescued where he lay,
                       And leaping, flashing, to the smiles of day,
                       With all their little billows out at play;--
                       Birds gladsome singing round the cottage tree,
                       And hope and heart, for once, at liberty,
                       Mingling in joyous anthems which make air
                       All musical with love, that might be prayer.


                       Give the heart freedom! Let the soul take wing
                       With the soft promise of the golden Spring;
                       From book and study, forth;--uplift the eye
                       To the blue beauties in the morning sky;
                       Forget that Toil hath had his task decreed,
                       The daily labor, for the daily need;
                       Give Hope new charm in respite from its chain,
                       Thought fresher impulse in unlaboring brain;
                       No duty rules that Drudgery shall not find
                       Some moments grateful to the unfetter'd mind;
                       The heart's sweet Sabbath must not be denied,
                       Now, when boon Nature smiles on all beside!
                       Where the winds play,--where great green branches wave.
                       And lilies softly lapse upon the wave,--
                       Forth with the Sun, with heart that sings within,
                       In sense of joy that hath no taint of sin;
                       A song of Summer born, that feels, instinct,
                       How near with Earth the soul of man is link'd,
                       And thus through earth with heaven, that still foreshows,
                       In bright, sweet symbols, how the future glows,
                       How freshly, gladsomely, and purely Bliss
                       May yet, in man's true life, atone for this!


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                       Spirits of holiest gift have been at range,
                       O'er stream and forest, to effect this change;--
                       What potent spells, what breath of balm, they brought,
                       By which the magic of this birth was wrought;--
                       How did they whisper on the bankside, where
                       Lurk'd all the hooded flowers, in shame and fear;
                       Hush'd through long months of winter, while the sway
                       Of that cold tyrant threaten'd still his prey,
                       'Till that warm whisper to the clod which hid,
                       Brought each sweet virgin to unclose her lid,
                       And won the nun-like daisy from her cell,
                       In sweet obedience to the grateful spell,--
                       Blessing the shrine that shelter'd her so well!
                       What legions of bright angels, far and wide,
                       Have sped, that earth should waken up in pride;
                       A single breath, one short sweet night--the moon
                       Of April only watching through its noon--
                       And, with the dawn, how wondrous was the show
                       That hail'd the sun from thousand plains below;
                       With song,--though faint, how sweet!--and scents so rare,
                       As if the flowers were wedded to the air,
                       That nothing did but drink of the delight,
                       With wings diffused in never-resting flight,
                       As conscious, in the rapture of such taste,
                       Of no fatigue, in all that world of waste.


                       Oh! with a range as wide as his, we speed
                       To each fair empire of the newly freed;
                       With hearts as free as any of the race,
                       That glow and gladden in the sun's embrace.
                       How spreads the various picture as we go!
                       Hills greenly stretch aloft, and vales below;
                       The mountain wears no more the brow of age,
                       And nature flies her gloomy hermitage,


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                       Now desolate no longer,--to abide,
                       With birds and blossoms, by the brooklet's side;
                       How prattle the glad waters, as she brings,
                       Her gayest buds to nurture at their springs;
                       Pleased with the song of kindred, which declares
                       Her joy in these, and all her beauties theirs!
                       Banks, on each side, slope down with fringe of green,
                       To kiss the silvery waves that sing between,
                       Sing with fit chant to the cathedral trees,
                       Through which, still sleepless, trolls the thoughtless breeze,
                       With music most like that of swarming bees!


                       The song is still an echo to the toil,--
                       The heart is tutor'd when the sinews moil;
                       Mere song were something vicious,--but the strain
                       That tells of solace for the limbs and brain--
                       Which call for respite for due service done,
                       In fields of meet succession with the sun,--
                       This brings a healthful nurture, and, if right
                       The duty done, we look for the delight.
                       The charm that still beguiles us at the close
                       Of the day-labor, freshening its repose,
                       Is the sweet nourishment for strength anew,
                       The future toil, or conquest, to pursue.
                       Thus sings the earth at seasons,--thus we hear
                       The bird and insect joyous far and near;
                       A choral hymn the nation's toil preludes,
                       And the glad creature frolics ere it broods.
                       Full of a sweet and wise intelligence,
                       Not simply fashion'd for the idiot's sense,
                       The voices that we hear from plain and grove,
                       They speak in gladness, for they breathe of love;
                       And love is the great duty which implies
                       Toil for the drudge and study for the wise;


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                       Both earnest ever in the fond pursuit,
                       That, in the very tillage, finds the fruit!
                       Earth has a labor in her womb below!--
                       The watchful ear may catch the murmuring flow
                       Of mingling strifes and sounds,--the strifes of toil,
                       Of those who sing and serve, for those who moil.
                       The mighty mother, with mysterious art,
                       Hath fashion'd well each agent in her mart;
                       Various in product, as in office, still,
                       Each, without murmur, follows at her will;
                       No void unfill'd beneath her searching eye,
                       No realm unwatch'd, of water, earth, or sky;--
                       There runs the lizard o'er the freshest flowers,
                       As death gives shadow to our sunniest hours;--
                       There, the gay butterfly, on varied wing,
                       Pursues the insect that it cannot sting;--
                       There goes the coiling serpent, with raised crest,
                       And warning rattle, to his slimy nest,--
                       Vex'd by pursuit he slowly wins his way,
                       Nor seems unwilling to prolong his stay,--
                       Too closely press'd he would not shun the strife,
                       And he who takes, must battle for, his life.


                       Turn where the dove,--meet contrast!--with his mate
                       Just won, delighted with his new estate,
                       Lingers beside the path a fearless thing,
                       Nor claims the succor of his idle wing.
                       Nature endows him with the season's sense,
                       Where all is breathing hope and confidence,--
                       And, heedful of her interest, man decrees
                       His safety from the fowler. Thus we seize
                       Our sweetest lessons of preserving good,
                       From the dumb nature and unthinking mood,--


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                       For it were base to wrong the faith implied,
                       Which seeks our steps, nor hurries once aside,
                       Though life is dearer now, so full of love,
                       And fear is the first instinct of the dove!

NIGHT STORM.


                       THIS tempest sweeps the Atlantic!--Nevasink
                       Is howling to the Capes! Grim Hatteras cries
                       Like thousand damned ghosts, that on the brink
                       Lift their dark hands and threat the threatening skies;
                       Surging through foam and tempest, old Román
                       Hangs o'er the gulf, and, with his cavernous throat,
                       Pours out the torrent of his wolfish note,
                       And bids the billows bear it where they can!
                       Deep calleth unto deep, and, from the cloud,
                       Launches the bolt, that, bursting o'er the sea,
                       Rends for a moment the thick pitchy shroud,
                       And shows the ship the shore beneath her lea:--
                       Start not, dear wife, no dangers here betide,--
                       And see, the boy still sleeping at your side!

"WELL," SANG A BLUE-EYED DAMSEL.

I.


                       "WELL," sang a blue-eyed damsel, half hidden by a wood
                       Of bearded oaks, that on the banks of Etiwando stood;
                       "Give me such days of beauty forever by these shores,
                       Such glimpses of this noble stream as to the sea it pours;
Page 68


                       The palm, the pine, the song of birds, and this gay realm of flowers,
                       That sweetens now, with smile and scent, this ancient home of ours;
                       And not your Texian world of wealth, your wild and wondrous gleams,
                       Your giant herds, your mighty birds, your silver-bedded streams;
                       No, nor the glimpse of golden spoils, that tempt the eager eye,
                       As half display'd, in Mexique vales, with scarce a guard they lie,
                       Shall move me to repine with thoughts that pomp and wealth bedeck,
                       No more, with rich and jewell'd pride, our Carolina's neck.

II.


                       For, stately in her beauty still, and stainless in her fante,
                       She rises like a queen of grace, while others sink in shame;
                       The wealth so dear in other eyes, the bribe that wins the rest,
                       Shows basely in her matron glance, moves scorn within her breast;
                       True to her proud example still, her sons pursue their way,
                       And wisdom gives their counsels weight, and virtue yields them sway:
                       Ah! shall her daughters heed the prize of selfish, stranger lands,
                       Nor all prefer, which she bestows, whose nobler worth commands?
                       What though her sons no wealth declare when they approach to woo,
                       Yet sprung from noble stocks they come, and like their sires are true;
                       With one of these, but build for me my cottage on these shores,
                       And all the wealth of Mexico, and Texas too, be yours."


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NATURE'S FAVORITE.


                       SOME men are Nature's favorites; they were born
                       Beneath the canopy of trees in May,
                       When Beauty fills the sky, and from the bud
                       Breathes the fresh odor; when the merry birds
                       Go singing through the air, and whirls aloft,
                       In maddest paroxysms of delight,
                       The wanton mimic of a thousand tongues,
                       Pouring a torrent of impetuous song
                       That stuns the grove to silence. She has been
                       The gentle mother, leading them away
                       From the immure of the unnatural town,
                       To the free homestead of the ancient trees;
                       Bestowing them the life that there alone
                       Makes life a dear romance. They have gone forth
                       And brought her flowers, and fill'd her lap with them;
                       And she has told them, of the life of each,
                       Most ravishing stories. Oh! how very sweet
                       Thus to be taught! No-musty books--no rules,
                       In dull, damp dungeons, shutting out the sky,
                       And drudging the free fancy with a weight
                       That leaves it wingless after.--'Tis my joy
                       That I have thus been tutored! Nature came
                       And took me for her charge when I was young,
                       And brought me up herself. I was not taught
                       Vain histories of schoolmen--men of cloud
                       And vapor, with philosophies of straw,
                       That strive in bubble-hunting. Ancient tongues
                       That, having answer'd for their day, had gone
                       Into forgetfulness, ne'er tortured mine!
                       Destined for life--the present and the real--


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                       Condemn'd to its necessities, and full
                       Of all its glorious conquests--its new truths
                       And coming victories--I was not vex'd
                       With frigid phantoms of philosophy
                       At midnight in my chamber--ghosts of doubt
                       And speculation, that, in all their eyes,
                       No speculation wore--when the broad heavens
                       Were hung with forms of rare intelligence,
                       Teachers of heart and fancy--twiring forms,
                       The herds of eyes, the numerous flocking stars,
                       Gazing down on me, and imploring mine!
                       The present was my own! I made it mine,--
                       Enjoying it, the past was mine as well;--
                       I lived the life of the world, as still the world
                       Has render'd life to the living--yielding man
                       Experience of his father in his own;
                       Trod the same ground that they had travell'd o'er,
                       The sage and soldier of dim ages gone,
                       In the same company.--What did I need,
                       With the same feelings and affections fill'd--
                       For I drew milk from breasts which they had drawn--
                       To toil through their adventures? They were mine,
                       Already in my progress. I was taught
                       By the same tutor--happy that I was!

SONNETS.--DAWNINGS OF FANCY.

I.


                       VOICES are on the winds!--I hear them now
                       Foating around me, musical and sweet
                       As are the waves of ocean when they meet,
                       Combing and flashing round some sunny prow;--
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                       Then, as if seeking softer melody,
                       Back shrinking from the lately sought embrace;
                       Even as the new-won virgin, bashfully,
                       Love in her heart, but fear upon her face!
                       How exquisite, and yet how sad withal,
                       These murmurs, that fond meeting, and faint fall!
                       They swell upon my spirit's ear by night,
                       And morning brings them on her purple wings,--
                       Oh, Fancy!--as if feeding at thy springs,
                       They took from thee all voices of delight.

II.


                       Nor only of delight! The music swells
                       To sorrow, as the rosy day declines;
                       And folding up his wing among the vines,
                       The wandering zephyr of his garden tells
                       By the Euphrates.--Exiled from its flowers,
                       His wing is weary--he forgets its powers,
                       And his heart sinks with the decaying light,--
                       Most wretched, the Capricious! three long hours!
                       Ere dawn he plumes his wing for fresher flight,
                       Dreams of enduring joys in other bowers,
                       And wild his song of rapture that same night!
                       Rapture in sadness finds his fit repose,
                       As toil in sleep; and Fancy's self rebels,
                       Denied her evening bower and brief repose.

III.


                       Whoso denies this wholesome, natural want,
                       Endangers her existence! She must bask
                       Among the woods she rifles,--free from task,
                       The master's eye, and hard command,--and nap,
                       Where nature yields her groves and matron lap;--
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                       Where birds sing slumber, and the hunted doe,
                       Assured of safety, stops a while to pant!
                       Thus resting she arises, prompt and strong,
                       With eye all vigor,--wing prepared to go,
                       Rapt, heavenward, in the upward-gushing song!--
                       Poised like the great sea-eagle in his state,
                       Sovereign 'mongst rolling clouds, careering free,
                       Or, like the meeker lark, at heaven's own gate,
                       That, in her love, proclaims her liberty.

SONNETS.--POPULAR MISDIRECTION.

I.


                       HOW went the cry in Greece, an ominous sound,
                       When Elatea fell--disaster dread,
                       Presaging Choeronea! Is the tale read--
                       Is there no moral in the history found,
                       That we grope on, with tidings each day brought
                       Of outposts lost to the enemy--our foe
                       That saps our liberties through the popular thought,
                       And in our stupor, brings our virtue low.
                       Yet may we not despair--a nation sleeps
                       Not always:--she may need repose for strength,
                       And, at the perilous moment, break at length
                       Her bonds, as from his lair the lion leaps
                       To conquest, in the pride of all his powers:--
                       Ah! Choeronea never shall be ours!

II.


                       We are no more a people of the free;
                       A change is on our fortunes--we forget
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                       The high design that made our liberty
                       A thing of hope and wonder, and have set
                       Our hearts on earthly idols, vanities,
                       The childish wants of fashion, and a crowd
                       Of sordid appetites that clamor loud,
                       The eager ear of emptiness to please.
                       The nobler toils that only to high thought,
                       Patience and inward struggle yield the prize,
                       Are ours no longer;--we no more devise
                       Conquests of self and fortune;--all unwrought
                       That glorious vein our fathers struck of yore,
                       Which, left unwork'd, but makes us doubly poor.

III.


                       Sudden, the mighty nation goes not down,
                       There is no mortal fleetness in its fate;
                       Time,--many omens--still anticipate
                       The peril that removes its iron crown
                       And shakes its homes with ruin! Centuries
                       Fleet by in the long struggle; and great men
                       Rush mounted to the breach where victory lies,
                       And personal virtue brings us life again!
                       Were it not thus, my country!--were this hope
                       Not ours,--the present were a fearful time;
                       Vainly we summon mighty hearts to cope
                       With thy oppressors,--vanity and crime--
                       These ride thee, as upon some noble beast,
                       The scoundrel jackal, hurrying to his feast.

IV.


                       Would we recall our virtues and our peace?
                       The ancient teraphim we must restore;
                       Bring back the household gods we loved of yore,
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                       And bid our yearning for strange idols cease.
                       Our worship still is in the public way,--
                       Our altars are the market-place;--our prayer
                       Strives for meet welcome in our neighbor's ear,
                       And heaven affects us little while we pray.
                       We do not call on God, but man, to hear;--
                       Nor even on his affections;--we have lost
                       The sweet humility of our home desires,
                       And flaunt in foreign fashions at rare cost;
                       Nor God our souls, nor man our hearts inspires,
                       Nor aught that should to God or man be dear.

THE FIRST DREAM OF LOVE.

I.


                       SOFT, oh! how softly sleeping
                       Shadow'd by beauty she lies,
                       Dreams, as of rapture, creeping,
                       Smile by smile, over her eyes;
                       Lips, oh! how sweetly parting,
                       As if the delight between,
                       With its own warm pulses starting,
                       Strove to go forth and be seen.

II.


                       'Tis Love, born newly of fancy,
                       Brushing her heart with his plume,
                       That wakes, with his necromancy,
                       On the tale-telling cheek the bloom;--
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                       Ah! long as a fancy gladden,
                       Sweet Love, the delighted heart,
                       Nor ever with passion madden,
                       Nor ever with hope depart.

HAUNTED WOODS.--A FRAGMENT.


                       THESE woods have all been haunted, and the power
                       Of spells still harbors in each tree and flower;
                       The groves still keep, and hide, a various race,
                       Whom we should vainly labor to displace;
                       Nor were it wise, so long as we deplore
                       The failing virtues that we knew before;
                       Those precious sympathies that loved to find,
                       In speechless nature, voices for mankind:
                       That still acknowledged spirits in the beam,
                       Gnomes in the mountain, undines in the stream;
                       Dryads in woods, not near so wild as these,
                       And sweet, sad nymphs, that hide in ancient trees!
                       Here, to my faith, they still abide, and crown
                       The dark deep groves with beauties not their own:
                       Still, 'midst the sacred ring, in doubtful light,
                       The tricksy elves go dancing through the night;
                       Meet the capricious fairies, where they glide,
                       Sparkling in moonlight, by Saluda's side,
                       And, join'd in mimic battle, or in sport
                       More genial, find the happy night too short!
                       Thus the sad Indian, ever as he flew
                       O'er these smooth waters in his birch canoe,
                       Beheld afar, in light of summer eves,
                       Wild forms and faces glimmering through the leaves:


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                       Bright, star-like eyes flash'd out from thickest shades,
                       And, softly sudden, laugh'd ascending maids;
                       Strange antic shapes, half mingled with the pine,
                       Shriek'd out, as baffled in some foul design;
                       Shook their fierce torches at each flitting grace,
                       And stamp'd in fury o'er their trysting-place;
                       Trampled on flowers to fairy fingers dear,
                       And flouted joys they had not soul to share;--
                       Then fled to genial swamps and thickets dark,
                       Where the faint glow-worm shrouds her little spark.
                       An envious tribe, that, ere the white man came,
                       The dusky savage well had learn'd to name;
                       Mischievous elves, that charm'd his sylvan bow,
                       Warp'd the shaft, erring, sent against his foe;
                       'Wilder'd his footsteps in the search of prey,
                       And led his dog aside, the scentless way;
                       Still, when the day was done, beside him crept,
                       And fill'd his dreams with horror while he slept;
                       Nor gave him respite, till, with hallowing rite,
                       His priests, with incense, soothed the demon's spite!
                       In these the red-man's faith was no less strong
                       Than that which Allegmania kept so long:
                       A realm as various peopled, in his creed,
                       As Albion recognized, and knew indeed;
                       With native instincts, conscious of a tie,
                       'Twixt earth and air, that lifts humanity,
                       Supplying still a void between our race
                       And that we dream of in the world of space;
                       Showing faint glimpses, shapes of cloud and light,
                       Of fancy born, yet precious to the sight,
                       And still appealing, when we droop or dream,
                       To worlds and hopes which thus bestow their gleam;
                       A light, though faint, to show us where to rise,
                       And wings, though feeble, which may pierce the skies.


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                       Ah! from these woods they do not yet depart,
                       They win our worship still, they soothe our heart:
                       The ancient fancies still as strongly glow,
                       And still the antic shadows come and go;
                       Strange aspects haunt the forests, to our eyes,
                       As fill'd the red-man's home with mysteries;
                       We hear the wild chant of the eldritch race,
                       And see them flitting in their midnight chase:
                       They live for us as them. Our woodman sees,
                       Even now, quaint masks that lurk behind the trees;
                       Possess with spells that haunt him as he speeds,
                       Inspire his terrors, or arrest his deeds;
                       Until his soul grows full of faith, for which
                       His reason finds no answer and no speech:
                       He deems all true the red-man taught of spells,
                       Still loathly lingers where the demon dwells,
                       And still imagines that the charmed song,
                       Among the pines, will harbor in them long;
                       Not simply winds, communing with the boughs,
                       But sounds of brooding myriads, as they drowse.

THE STATESMAN.


                       WELL, if it be that Fortune's sun is setting,
                       And friends that cheer'd thee in thy happier day
                       Turn from thy griefs, thy glorious gifts forgetting,
                       And faithless prove when faith had been thy stay:
                       Thou art thine own mind's master, though forsaken
                       Of those who came and crouch'd while all was bright;
                       Thou bear'st a soul that storms have never shaken,
                       And resolute will to tread the path of right.


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                       And this is still to conquer, though we perish!
                       'Tis no defeat, when, steadfast in our hearts,
                       We yet, o'er all, the sacred purpose cherish,
                       Though every hope that grew with it departs;--
                       The will that moves us to the strife unquailing,
                       Still keeps the faith unchanging it believes;
                       Though in the hope that dream'd of conquest failing,
                       The future still avenges and--retrieves!


                       And, to thyself thus true in every fortune,
                       The very foes must honor who o'erthrow:
                       Calm, steadfast, firm--oh! why shouldst thou impórtune
                       The fate whose seasons ever come and go?
                       Thou hast no loss in ever-losing struggle,
                       For that thou strivest still in Duty's cause;
                       Rejecting still the bauble and the juggle,
                       True to thyself, the virtues and the laws.

SLEEPING CHILD.


                       MY little girl sleeps on my arm all night,
                       And seldom stirs, save, when with playful wile,
                       I bid her turn, and lift her lip to mine,--
                       Which, even as she sleeps, she does; and sometimes then,
                       Half muttering in her slumbers, she declares
                       Her love for me is boundless. Then I take
                       The precious promise closer to my arms,
                       And, by my action--for, in such a time,
                       My lips can find no utterance for my heart--
                       Give her assurance meet that she is there


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                       Most treasured of my jewels. Thus, tenderly,
                       Hour after hour, with no desire of sleep,
                       I watch above that large amount of hope,
                       With eyes made doubly vigilant by their tears,
                       Until the stars wane, and the yellow moon
                       Walks forth into the night.

THE GRAPE-VINE SWING.


                       LITHE and long as the serpent train,
                       Springing and clinging from tree to tree,
                       Now darting upward, now down again,
                       With a twist and a twirl that are strange to see:
                       Never took serpent a deadlier hold,
                       Never the cougar a wilder spring,
                       Strangling the oak with the boa's fold,
                       Spanning the beech with the condor's wing.


                       Yet no foe that we fear to seek--
                       The boy leaps wild to thy rude embrace;
                       Thy bulging arms bear as soft a cheek
                       As ever on lover's breast found place:
                       On thy waving train is a playful hold
                       Thou shalt never to lighter grasp persuade;
                       While a maiden sits in thy drooping fold,
                       And swings and sings in the noonday shade!


                       Oh! giant strange of our southern woods,
                       I dream of thee still in the well-known spot,
                       Though our vessel strains o'er the ocean floods,
                       And the northern forest beholds thee not;


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                       I think of thee still with a sweet regret,
                       As the cordage yields to my playful grasp--
                       Dost thou spring and cling in our woodlands yet?
                       Does the maiden still swing in thy giant clasp?

SONNET.--THE OLD MASTERS.


                       I REVERENCE these old masters--men who sung
                       Or painted, not for love of praise or fame;
                       Who heeded not the popular eye or tongue,
                       And craved no present honors for their name;
                       Who toil'd because they sorrow'd! In their hearts
                       The secret of their inspiration lay;--
                       When these were by the oppressor's minions wrang,
                       The terrible pang to utterance forced its way.
                       And hence it is, their passionate song imparts,
                       To him who listens, a like sensible woe,
                       That moves him much to turn aside and pray
                       As if his personal grief had present claim;--
                       Thus Danté found his muse,--the pride and shame
                       Of Florence;--Milton thus, and Michael Angelo!

SEASIDE SOLITUDE.


                       How, in this castled battlement that stands
                       A grim and ghastly giant o'er the sea,
                       As if to guard the subject smiling lands,
                       Safe kept in meet subjection, and so free,--


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                       How, with a silent sadness do I love,
                       When night winds all unfetter'd fly abroad,
                       And the pale moon, in peerless car above,
                       Moves onward like some melancholy god,
                       In very sadness of sublimity,
                       Bemoaning the great state which makes him lone;
                       How do I love to watch above the deep,
                       To hear winds whistle and the surges sweep,
                       And share the sadness and the silence then,
                       More full of speech for Thought than crowds of men;--
                       And drink in lessons of the great expanse,
                       That teaches still the far Eternity;
                       The world itself laid bare beneath the glance,
                       And all made subject to the soul and eye:
                       While still with choir of storm the great sea rolls
                       Its anthem, fitting conflicts of great souls;
                       A mighty heart of passion; even in sleep
                       Heaving with saddest moans, that show the strife how deep.

MENTAL SOLITUDE.


                       THE bells are gayly pealing, and the crowd,
                       The thoughtless and the happy, with light hearts,
                       Are moving by the casement:--I can hear
                       The rude din of their voices and the tramp
                       Of hurrying footsteps o'er the pavement nigh,
                       And my soul sickens in its solitude.
                       Each hath his own companion, and can bend,
                       As to a centre of enlivening warmth,
                       To some abode of happiness and mirth;--


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                       Greeted by pleasant voices,--words of cheer,
                       And hospitality,--whose outstretch'd hand
                       Draws in the smiling stranger at the door.
                       They go not singly by, as I should go,
                       But hanging on fond arms. They muse not thoughts
                       Of strange and timid sadness, such as mine;
                       But dreams of promised joys are in their souls,
                       And, in their ears, the music of kind words
                       That make them happy.
                       I, alas!--alone,
                       Of all this populous city, must remain,
                       Shut up in my dim chamber,--or, perchance,
                       If I dare venture out among the crowd,
                       Will be among, not of, them; and appear--
                       For that I have not walk'd with them before,
                       Nor been a sharer in their festivals--
                       As some strange monster brought from foreign climes
                       But to be baited with the thoughtless gaze,
                       The rude remark, cold eye and sneering lip,
                       Till I grow savage, and become, at last,
                       The rugged brute they do behold in me.


                       Talk not to me of solitude!--thou hast
                       But little of its meaning in thy thought,
                       And less in thy observance. It is not
                       To go abroad into the wilderness,
                       Or dart upon the ocean;--to behold
                       The broad expanse of prairie or of wood,
                       And deem,--for that the human form is not
                       A dweller on its bosom,--(with its shrill
                       And senseless clamor oft, breaking away
                       The melancholy of its sweet serene,
                       That, like a mantle, lifted by the breath
                       Of some presiding deity, o'erwraps,


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                       Making all mystery and gentleness,)--
                       That solitude is thine. Thy thought is vain!--
                       That is no desert, where the heart is free
                       To its own spirit-worship;--where the soul,
                       Untainted by the breath of busy life,
                       Converses with the elements, and grows
                       To a familiar notion of the skies,
                       Which are its portion. That is liberty!
                       And the sweet quiet of the waving woods,
                       The solemn song of ocean--the blue skies,
                       That hang like canopies above the plain,
                       And lend their richest hues to the fresh flowers
                       That carpet its broad bosom,--are most full
                       Of solace and the sweetest company!
                       I love these teeming voids,--their voiceless words,
                       So full of truest teaching. God is there,
                       Walking beside me, as, in elder times,
                       He walk'd beside the shepherds, and gave ear
                       To the first whisper'd doubts of early thought,
                       And prompted it aright. Such wilds to me
                       Seem full of friends and teachers. In the trees,
                       The never-ceasing billows, winds and leaves,
                       Feather'd and finny tribes,--all that I see,
                       All that I hear and fancy,--I have friends,
                       That soothe my heart to meekness, lift my soul
                       To loftiest hope, and, to my toiling mind,
                       Impart just thoughts and safest principles.
                       They have a language I can understand,
                       When man is voiceless, or with vexing words
                       Offends my judgment. They have melodies
                       That soothe my heart to peace, even as the dame
                       Soothes her dear infant with a song of sounds
                       That have no meaning for the older ear,
                       And mock the seeming wise. Even wint'ry clouds


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                       Have charms for me amid their cheerlessness,
                       And hang out images of love and light,
                       At evening, 'mong the stars,--or, ere the dusk
                       That specks so stilly the gray twilight's wing,
                       With many colors sweetly intermixt:--
                       And, when the breezes gather with the night,
                       And shake the roof-tree under which I sleep,
                       'Till the dried leaves enshroud me, then I hear
                       Voices of love and friendship in mine ear,
                       That speak to me in soothing, idle sounds,
                       And flatter me, I am not all alone.
                       Darting o'er ocean's blue domain, or far
                       In the deep woods, where the gaunt Choctaw yet
                       Lingers to perish;--galloping o'er the bald
                       Yet beautiful plain of prairie,--I become
                       Part of the world around me, and my heart
                       Forgets its singleness and solitude.
                       But, in the city's crowd, where I am one
                       'Mongst many,--many who delight to throw
                       The altar I have worshipp'd in the dust--
                       And trample my best offerings--and revile
                       My prayers--and scorn the tribute, which I still
                       Devoted with full heart and purest mind
                       To the all-wooing and all-visible God,
                       In nature ever present--having no mood
                       With mine, nor any sympathy with aught
                       That I have loved;--'tis there that I am taught
                       The essence and the form of solitude--
                       'Tis there that I am lonely!--'mid a world,
                       To feel I have no business in that world;
                       And when I hear men laughing, not to join,
                       Because their cause of mirth is hid from me:--
                       To feel the lights of the assembly glare
                       And fever all my senses, till I grow


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                       Stupid, or sad and boorish;--then return,
                       Sick of false joys and misnamed festivals,
                       To my own gloomy chambers, and old books
                       That counsel me no more, and cease to cheer,
                       And, like an aged dotard, with dull truths,
                       Significant of nothings, often told,
                       And told to be denied, that wear me out,
                       In patience, as in peace;--and then to lie,
                       And watch the lazy-footed night away,
                       With fretful nerve, that sorrows when it flies!--
                       To feel the day advancing which must bring
                       The weary night once more, that I had pray'd
                       Forever gone! To hear the laboring wind
                       Depart, in melting murmurs, with the tide,
                       And, ere the morn, to catch his sullen roar,
                       Mocking the ear, with watching overdone,
                       Returning from his rough lair on the seas!
                       If life be now denied me;--if I sit
                       Within my chamber when all other men
                       Are revelling;--if I must be alone,
                       Musing on idle minstrelsy and lore--
                       Weaving sad fancies with the fleeting hours,
                       And making fetters of the folding thoughts,
                       That crush into my heart, and canker there;--
                       If nature calls me to her company,
                       Takes up my time, teaches me legends strange,
                       Prattles of wild conceits that have no form,
                       Save in extravagant fancy of old years,
                       When spirits were abroad;--if still she leads
                       My steps away from the establish'd walks,
                       And, with seducing strains of syren song,
                       Beguiles my spirit far among the groves
                       Of fairy-trodden forests, that I may
                       Wrestle with dreams, that wear away my days,


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                       And make my nights a peopled realm which steals
                       Sleep from my eyes, and peace;--if she ordains
                       That I shall win no human blandishment,
                       Nor, in the present hour, as other men,
                       Find meet advantage:--she will sure provide,
                       Just recompense--a better sphere and life,
                       Atoning for the past, and full of hope
                       In a long future;--or she treats me now,
                       Unkindly, and I may not help complaint.

"SUCH, O BEAUTY!"


                       SUCH, O Beauty! the amorous strains
                       Sung in thy praises in happier hours;
                       Then the free spirit rejoiced in chains,
                       But only because they were framed of flowers;
                       When they grew strong, with flight of years,
                       To fetter the heart of the youthful rover,
                       The spirit felt troubled with many fears,
                       And the time for laughing in chains was over.
                       Beauty, yes!
                       The spirit felt troubled with many fears,
                       And the time for laughing in chains was over.


                       And yet, O Beauty! thy chains, though breaking,
                       And sterner grown in the strifes of men,
                       A look, or a lay of thine will waken
                       A rapture such as they kindled then;
                       And sad, in its very freedom sighing,
                       The spirit will turn for thy smile and say,


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                       Ah! better far in her bondage lying,
                       Than cheerlessly thus waste life away;
                       Beauty, yes!
                       Better far in thy bondage lying,
                       Than cheerlessly thus waste life away.

SONNETS.--THE CAPRICE OF THE SENSIBILITIES.

I.


                       TRUE,--love hath its perils and denials--takes
                       Its color from the cloud; and, with a will,
                       Born of capricious fancy, sometimes aches
                       With its own raptures, wild and wilful still;--
                       Is pleased to grieve o'er griefs that may not rise,
                       And finds a tempest in serenest skies;--
                       Suspects where it should worship, and grows cold
                       When most the mutual fire is warm and bright,--
                       And is, self-doom'd, a stranger to delight,
                       When most the entwining arms of truth would fold
                       The estranged one in the happiest heart-embrace!
                       But these are natural aspects in the strife
                       Of nature, worn by all of mortal race,
                       And prove far less of suffering than of life.

II.


                       It is, indeed, the nature that acquires,
                       Even from these changing aspects, a new birth;
                       Caprice is but the sleep of the desires,
                       As sadness is the sweet repose of mirth;--
                       And all the dear variety of earth
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                       Is so much fuel to renew her fires!
                       The eye that saddens now, unknowing why,
                       To-morrow, with as little consciousness,
                       Will blaze with freshest lustres,--as the sky,
                       Late sorrowing with a cloudy, cold distress,
                       Anon, in all her bright of blue appears!--
                       Love puts on strangest aspects, that confess
                       A nature, not a will; and in her tears
                       The very hope is born whose birth alone can bless!

III.


                       Not such are love's true sorrows;--in her fate
                       Lie deeper perils--dooms more desolate!--
                       Hers are the worst of fortune, since they grow
                       From the excessive exquisite in life,
                       She perils in the field of human strife;--
                       The sensibilities--the hopes that flow
                       From those superior fountains of the soul,
                       Where all is but a dying and a birth,
                       A resurrection and a sacrifice;
                       Which, though it happen on the lowliest hearth,
                       Is yet the breaking of a golden bowl,
                       Still destined to renewal,--for new ties
                       And other sunderings,--and that mortal pain,
                       To know that death and birth alike are vain!

IV.


                       That stroke which shatters the devoted heart,
                       Its faith in the beloved one--the sweet trust,
                       That felt him genial and believed him just,
                       And rudely rends the linkéd souls apart,
                       Denied the old communion--is the blow
                       Most mortal, that the mortal meets below!
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                       The death of the affections--the true life
                       That from humanity pluck'd the cruel sting,
                       Which, born of its first faltering, doom'd the strife
                       Heal'd only by the true heart's minist'ring!--
                       There is no other sorrow, born of love,
                       Which love itself can heal not;--and for this,
                       'Twere idle any ministry to prove,--
                       Since love, in loss of faith, hath lost all right to bliss!

V.


                       Thus is it that the heart which other woe
                       But strengthens with new tendrils,--when it shakes,
                       Doom'd to the lightning terrors of this blow,
                       Sinks, shivering with the bolt, and sudden breaks.
                       Fibres knit close as tendrils of the vine,
                       Lock'd fast and clinging to the upholding pine,--
                       Even as the faith is rent, which was the tree,
                       Fix'd steadfast and high-towering o'er all,
                       To which the affections clung, nor fear'd to fall,--
                       So perish all the hopes and sympathies:--
                       A thousand veins, and ruptured arteries
                       Lie sunder'd at the stroke, all bleeding free;
                       Wasting their precious streams upon the roots
                       Of the great tree that never more bears fruits!

VI.


                       No fruits, no life!--what matter if the tree
                       Still lifts a brow erect against the sky,
                       Great shaft and mighty branches,--if there be
                       No blossom, in his season, for the eye--
                       No green of leaf, no gorgeous pageantry,
                       Wooing the prolific and embracing air
                       To harbor in the noontide, and to brood
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                       Still murmuring music in his slumberous mood,
                       While birds sit swinging with their young ones there;
                       Their life a summer day or less--not long,
                       But still a life of blossom and of song,--
                       The blossom and the song being each a birth,
                       Born only of the fruit, and born of earth,
                       For earth, that still love's promise might be fair!

MOTHER AND CHILD.


                       THE wind blew wide the casement, and within--
                       It was the loveliest picture! a sweet child
                       Lay in its mother's arms, and drew its life,
                       In pauses, from the fountain,--the white round,
                       Part shaded by loose tresses, soft and dark,
                       Concealing, but still showing, the fair realm
                       Of so much rapture, as green shadowing trees
                       With beauty shroud the brooklet. The red lips
                       Were parted, and the cheek upon the breast
                       Lay close, and, like the young leaf of the flower,
                       Wore the same color--rich, and warm, and fresh:--
                       And such alone are beautiful. Its eye,
                       A full, blue gem, most exquisitely set,
                       Look'd archly on its world--the little imp,
                       As if it knew, even then, that such a wealth
                       Were not for all;--and with its playful hands
                       It drew aside the robe that hid its realm,
                       And peep'd and laugh'd aloud, and so it laid
                       Its head upon the shrine of such pure joys,
                       And laughing, slept. And while it slept, the tears
                       Of the sweet mother fell upon its cheek--


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                       Tears, such as fall from April skies, and bring
                       The sunlight after. They were tears of joy;
                       And the true heart of that young mother then
                       Grew lighter, and she sang unconsciously
                       The silliest ballad-song that ever yet
                       Subdued the nursery's voices, and brought sleep
                       To fold her sabbath wings above its couch.

COME, WHEN THE EVENING INTO SILENCE CLOSES.

I.


                       COME, when the evening into silence closes,
                       When the pale stars steal out upon the blue;
                       And watchful zephyrs to the virgin roses,
                       Descend in sweetest murmurs, bringing dew;
                       Come to the heart that sadly then declining,
                       Would need a soothing day has never known;
                       Come, like those stars upon the night-cloud shining,
                       And bless me with a beauty all thine own.
                       Beauty of songs and tears,
                       And blessed tremulous fears--
                       Beauty that shrinks from every gaze but one:
                       Ah! for the dear delight,
                       The music of thy sight,
                       I yield the day, the lonely day, and live for night alone.

II.


                       It is no grief that in the night hour only,
                       The love that is our solace may be sought;
                       Day mocks the soul that is in rapture lonely,
                       And voices break the spell with sorrow fraught;
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                       Better that single, silent star above us,
                       And still around us that subduing hush,
                       As of some brooding wing, ordain'd to love us,
                       That spells the troubled soul and soothes its gush;
                       Shadows that still beguile,
                       Sorrows that wear a smile,
                       Griefs that in dear delusions lead away--
                       And oh! that whispering tone,
                       Breathed, heard, by one alone,
                       That, as it dies--a wordless sound--speaks more than words can say

SONNETS.

OBJECTS WHICH INFLUENCE THE AMBITIOUS NATURE.

I. TROPHIES.--HOW PLANTED.


                       THE trophies which shine out for eager eyes,
                       In youth's first hour of progress, and delude
                       With promise dearest to ambition's mood,
                       Lie not within life's limits; but arise
                       Beyond the realm of sunset;--phantoms bright,
                       Glowing above the tomb; having their roots
                       Even in the worshipper's heart;--from whence their fruits,
                       And all that thence grows precious to man's sight!
                       Thence, too, their power to lure from beaten ways
                       That Love hath set with flowers; and thence the spell,
                       'Gainst which the blood denied may ne'er rebel,
                       That leads to sleepless nights and toilsome days,
                       And sacrifice of all those human joys,
                       That, to the ambitious nature, seem but toys.
Page 93

II. WHERE PLANTED.


                       It is the error of the impatient heart
                       To hope undying gifts, even while the strife
                       Is worst;--and, struggling 'gainst its mortal part,
                       The glorious Genius, laboring still for life,
                       Springs even from death to birth! 'Tis from his tomb
                       The amaranth rises which must wreathe his brow,
                       And crown his memory with unfading bloom!--
                       Rooted in best affections, it will grow,
                       Though water'd by sad tears, and watch'd by pride
                       Made humble in rejection! Love denied,
                       Shall tend it through all seasons, and shall give
                       Her never-failing tenderness,--though still
                       Be the proud spirit and the unyielding will,
                       That, through the mortal, made the immortal live!

III. TRIUMPH.


                       The grave but ends the struggle! Follows then
                       The triumph, which, superior to the doom,
                       Grows loveliest, and looks best, to mortal men,
                       Purple in beauty, towering o'er the tomb!
                       Oh! with the stoppage of the impulsive tide
                       That vex'd the impatient heart with needful strife,
                       The soul that is Hope's living leaps to life,
                       And shakes her fragrant plumage far and wide!
                       Eyes follow then in worship which but late
                       Frown'd in defiance;--and the timorous herd,
                       That sleekly waited for another's word,
                       Grow bold, at last, to bring,--obeying Fate,--
                       The tribute of their praise, but late denied,--
                       Tribute of homage which is sometimes--hate!
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IV. GLORY AND ENDURING FAME.


                       Thus Glory hath her being! Thus she stands
                       Star-crown'd--a high divinity of woe:
                       Her temples fill, her columns crown all lands,
                       Where lofty attribute is known below.
                       For her the smokes ascend, the waters flow,
                       The grave foregoes his prey, the soul goes free;
                       The gray rock gives out music,--hearthstones grow
                       To temples at her word--her footprints see,
                       On ruins, that are thus made holiest shrines,
                       Where Love may win devotion, and the heart,
                       That with the fire of Genius inly pines,
                       May find the guidance of a kindred art--
                       And, from the branch of that eternal tree,
                       Pluck fruits at once of death and immortality!

THE SWALLOWS.


                       WITH no signal of their coming,
                       With no promise of the spring,
                       With the dawning hark their humming,
                       And, across the window-pane,
                       See each gayly flashing wing,--
                       As delighted to discover,
                       While about the eaves they hover,
                       That all's safe at home again!


                       Such a merry, screaming clatter,
                       Such a chorus of delight;--
                       Something more must be the matter,
                       Than the simple certainty


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                       Of the savage winter's flight,
                       And their ancient homes secure;
                       Still upon the slender ashes,
                       Hanging free their calabashes,*
                       And still wide each aperture!

        * The gourd or calabash, hung upon ash or cypress poles, being, as every one knows, the home usually assigned to the swallow at all Southern farmsteads.



                       Friend of pigeon and of chicken,
                       Lately trembling at the hawk,
                       Well may that old ruffian sicken,
                       As he, slowly circling, sees
                       Those who come his sports to balk,--
                       Those that swift on arrowy pinion,
                       Drive him from his dread dominion,
                       And arrest his butcheries.

        † The swallow is cherished, as he protects the chicken from the hawk. This he does by darting above him, and descending rapidly, with flapping wings, above the eyes of the outlaw.



                       Modest champions of the feeble,
                       Thus content in dwellings rude,
                       Joyful, and with happy treble,
                       Singing still in gladsome mood,
                       Ever happy, ever busy,
                       Whirling still in circles dizzy,
                       Making gay the solitude;--


                       Ye are welcome!--at your coming,
                       With your motion wild and glad,
                       Still rejoicing with your humming,
                       Hearts but lately all so sad;


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                       Tidings sweet ye bring to me,
                       Singing ever--Winter's flying,
                       Spring is nigh our buds supplying,
                       And the birds and blessings free!

SONNET.--DEATH IN YOUTH.


                       THEY tell us--whom the gods love die in youth!
                       'Tis something to die innocent and pure;
                       But death without performance is most sure
                       Ambition's martyrdom--worst death, in truth,
                       To the aspiring temper, fix'd in thought
                       Of high achievement! Happier far are they
                       Who, as the Prophet of the Ancients taught,
                       Hail the bright finish of a perfect day!
                       With fullest consummation of each aim,
                       That wrought the hope of manhood--with the crown
                       Fix'd to their mighty brows, of amplest fame--
                       Who smile at death's approaches and lie down
                       Calmly, as one beneath the shade-tree yields,
                       Satisfied of the morrow and green fields.

SUNSET PIECE.


                       ALL day had we been gliding o'er the seas,
                       With swan-like motion; for the skies were fair,
                       The waters smooth, or by a winning breeze,
                       But rippled into beauty far and near;
                       Our bark shot onward with a glad career,


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                       Like a brave steed with motion swift and free;
                       And now, as to the growing land we near,
                       Its headlands rising into majesty,
                       The mighty sun prepares to seek the embracing sea.


                       It is a sovereign's burial! O'er his brow
                       Hangs the imperial crown, a golden sphere;
                       While dark, in sullen majesty below,
                       The waters gathering in their mighty lair,
                       Rise, swelling into mountains! Far and near,
                       Mellow'd to soften'd twilight, a repose,
                       Sweet as the mild breath of the autumn air,
                       Is down upon the earth at evening's close:
                       No light too strongly beams, no breath too rudely blows.


                       But all above and all around,--the all
                       That links the visible to humanity--
                       Wound to a pleasant and seductive fall,
                       Woos the worn heart and wins the weary eye;
                       A pale star o'er yon steep acclivity,
                       Beckons the modest evening to her side,
                       Ere yet the dying monarch has thrown by
                       His purple, and, with glance of love and pride,
                       Sends peace throughout her empire, far and wide.


                       A freshness in the breeze, a pleasant breath,
                       As of a living odor, late from vales
                       Undimm'd by shadow, undeprived by death,
                       Of greenest verdure or of sweetest gales--
                       At fits it swells aloft, and then exhales
                       Away in music,--while a muttering sound,
                       As of the ocean when the tempest wails,
                       Breaks through the yielding tree-tops--all around
                       The day droops faintly clear, but purples still the ground.


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                       Far off, the tall rocks, in his latest glance,
                       Glow like Vesuvius! On each rugged brow
                       Capricious fires ascend, recede, advance,
                       Down sinking, then up rushing, as the flow
                       Of waves that seek the beach when seas are low,
                       Fond of old places! His sweet smile subdues
                       Their harsher aspects; warms with godlike glow,
                       The cold he may not conquer; 'till they lose
                       The aspects harsh and wild that still our steps refuse.


                       Love in his dying purpose, he relieves
                       The gloom of parting: thus, the cloud that far
                       Still follows on his footstep, now receives
                       His smile; and made all radiant like a star,
                       Glows in soft crimson and around his car
                       Curtains his couch as downward still he hies;--
                       Tempering the glorious light it may not mar,
                       The lovely drapery closes o'er his eyes,
                       Yet keeps his latest gift, his robe of thousand dyes.


                       Leap the wild billows round him as he goes,
                       Reddening their edges as in noonday pride;
                       Still struggling, as the giant girt by foes,
                       And failing but still fighting, eagle-eyed,
                       With full unfailing heart and sovereign stride,
                       Till the prevailing waters with wild roar,
                       Do homage to the glories they defied,--
                       Their realm of waste with fresh lights purpled o'er,
                       Borne far, from wave to wave, along the receding shore.


                       He sinks and in the heavens another star
                       Glides forth to her that beckon'd from the blue;
                       And the young moon in pearly-cinctured car,
                       Rides up where ocean's barriers bind the view.
                       Silvering the cloud she cannot quite subdue,


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                       Soothing the strife she may not hope to sway,
                       Her chaster livery chides the purple's hue,
                       And drapes the glare that made the garish day:
                       Thus Love doth Glory spell to choose her milder way.

SONNETS.--TO MY FRIEND.

I.


                       AMBITION owns no friend yet be thou mine!--
                       I have not much to win thee,--yet if song
                       Born of affection may one name prolong,
                       My lay shall seek to give a life to thine.
                       Let this requite thee for the honoring thought
                       That has forgiven me each capricious mood;
                       Dealt gently with my phrensies, school'd my blood,
                       And still with love my sad seclusion sought.
                       And when the gray sod rises o'er my breast,
                       Be thou the guardian of my deeds and name,
                       Defend me from the foes who hunt my fame,--
                       And, when thou show'st its purity, attest
                       Mine eye was ever on the sun, and bent,
                       Where clouds and difficult rocks make steep the great as [illegible]

II.


                       Thou wilt remark my fate when I am dead;
                       Let not fools scoff above me and proclaim
                       That I had vainly struggled after fame,
                       'Till the good oil of my young life was shed,
                       And I became a mockery, and fell
                       Into the yellow leaf before my time;
                       A sacrifice, even in my earliest prime,
                       To that which thinn'd the heavens and peopled hell!
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                       How few will understand us at the best,
                       How few so yield their sympathies, to know
                       What cares have robb'd us of our nightly rest,
                       How stern our trial, how complete our woe,--
                       And how much more our doom it was than pride,
                       To toil in devious ways with none who loved beside!

FLOWERS IN AUTUMN.

I.


                       SWEET roses! that alone beneath the sky,
                       The mellow sky of autumn, are, of all
                       Life's and remember'd nature's blandishments,
                       Purest and sweetest,--ye shall haply fall
                       Into a yellow sickliness and die!
                       The gentle heart that knows your luxury,
                       And deems ye sweetest pilgrims of the wood,
                       And found ye always gracious in your mood,
                       Bringing to Fancy its most precious food,
                       Such fate might well appall,--
                       But that your purple hues and delicate scents
                       Have taken fast abode in memory,
                       She will not lose ye, will not let ye fly!

II.


                       Upon each broken stalk,
                       Drooping in autumn's tears all desolate,
                       Sadly, in wild but well-accustom'd walk,
                       She mourns your hapless fate,
                       The beauty of your youth, the shortness of your date!
                       No charm is lost ye had for her when first
                       Your little petals into blossom burst!
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                       Well she remembers, when in early spring,
                       The swallow won his wing,
                       How she hath sought in thought-imprison'd mood,
                       Your nun-like sweetness in your solitude,--
                       Glad to commune, unhooded monitors,
                       With such as wore a sorrow sweet like hers!

III.


                       And ye repaid her, well repaid, in kind;
                       For where, in what sweet vale
                       Of Yemen or of Trebizond,--
                       Or lands yet far beyond,
                       Decreed to beauty and the joys of earth,
                       When summer's infant warbler, from a throat
                       Bursting with joyous song and attic note,
                       Pours to the blossoming year his garrulous tale--
                       Could she have stray'd to find
                       Such beauty as ye 'herited from birth,
                       Such sweetness as ye lavish'd on the gale
                       At the warm wooing of the southern wind?

IV.


                       Life was a joy to ye forever, yet
                       Ye shudder not to die;
                       Your leaves are pale, but with a sweet regret,
                       That half persuades a faith that every sigh
                       Of parting hath its pleasure. Ye betray
                       No anguish, offer up no prayer to stay;
                       With feeble yearnings striving to oppose
                       The blight that o'er ye blows.
                       Sure some true instinct bids ye moralize,
                       And fits ye to restore to the pure skies
                       The sweets we know ye by.
                       So meekly to your doom
                       Ye bend to meet the summoning of death,
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                       And, with no murmuring breath,
                       Yield beauty, sweet and bloom!

V.


                       Happy, thrice happy, perishing in sweet,
                       While yet the bloom is on ye and the scent
                       Is soft about ye, and the birds repeat,
                       At parting, the same songs of love and joy
                       That hail'd your budding from the firmament.
                       Death may destroy
                       Your being--not your beauty or your bliss--
                       And solace lives in this;
                       For thus ye know not that ye fade and fall,
                       Melting, as 'twere, into the sleep of all,
                       With a sweet prelude calm that shows like heaven!
                       No tender strings are riven,
                       Ye know not pangs--ye feel no venom'd dart
                       Go griding through the heart!
                       Ah! happy thus to part!
                       To go from life--its little hopes, its toys,
                       The idle of its promise and its noise--
                       Calmly as into slumbers that desire
                       No counsel of the awakening and the dawn,--
                       As bright flames in the hearth at night expire,
                       Nor say when they are gone!

VI.


                       Pale flowers, ye teach the lessons that I feel,
                       And, with a pictured gaze, lingering I look
                       Upon your parted leaves as in a book,
                       Which doth most pure philosophies reveal.
                       Your beauty hath not spoil'd ye, to deny
                       Your sweetness to the fond and hungering sense;
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                       Ye bloom to glad the heedless wanderer's eye,
                       And ask no recompense.
                       Ye serve with meekness as with sweet, and go,
                       Even as ye came, in silence, nor complain
                       That they who loved ye, whom ye gladden'd so,
                       Would have ye still remain.

THE LAND OF THE PINE.

I.


                       THE land of the pine,
                       The cedar, the vine,
                       Oh! may this blessed land ever be mine;
                       Lose not in air
                       Breezes that bear
                       Blossoms and odors, the song and the prayer.

II.


                       Take not from mine eye
                       The blue of its sky,
                       Bid not the soul of its loveliness die;
                       Still let me see
                       The bloom on its tree
                       Still bring its blossoms and blessings to me.

III.


                       The mountain, the vale,
                       Each hath a tale
                       Of valor that shrunk not in days of our bale--
                       Valor that stood
                       Fearless, though blood
                       Stream'd from his gushing veins, free, like a flood.
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IV.


                       And oh! may the song
                       The burden prolong,
                       That told of our solace in days of our wrong;
                       Woman's sweet strain,
                       Rising o'er pain,
                       Cheering her warrior to combat again!

THE INUTILE PURSUIT.


                       LABORS he then for naught, who thus pursues
                       What you misdeem a vision? Does he build
                       Vain fancies only, warm delusions, up,
                       And profitless chimeras;--still deceived,--
                       Cheating himself with hopes which haply cheat
                       None other than himself? Are these his toils?--
                       And you who work in more substantial ways,
                       And vex the seasons, man, all elements,
                       In multiplying gains--you are more wise,
                       And laugh to scorn the fool whose idle aim,
                       Like the warm painter of his own bright hues
                       Enamor'd, would impart to things around,
                       The glories that are growing in his heart
                       And kindling up his fancy into flame.


                       His are vain follies, but can yours be less,
                       And what are their delights? I will not ask--
                       But you wild dreamer gazing on the stars
                       As if they were his kindred, what are his?
                       He gazes on them long, with musing mood
                       That thinks not once of earth. His spirit flies


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                       Afar, on eagle pinions--he hath lost
                       The world which is around him--he hath gain'd
                       The world which is above him; and he feels
                       A mightier spirit working in his soul
                       Than thou hast ever dream'd of. He hath thoughts
                       That yield him strength and life--a treasury
                       In which thy gold is dross; and couldst thou give
                       Thy thousands in the barter, they could buy
                       No portion of the empire he hath won
                       In the fond thought he strives in. He hath felt
                       That life should have due play, and every nerve
                       Susceptible of consciousness, should do
                       Its separate function, ministering to the whole,
                       Or you have never lived, or lived in vain--
                       Having quick feelings, generous taste and blood,
                       At waste or rioting, or unemploy'd,
                       And damming up the system they should move.
                       You see no charm in those mysterious lights,
                       He follows evermore with eyes of thought,
                       And hold the worship madness which bestows
                       No worldly profit. Thou hast yet to learn
                       The things of highest profit to the heart
                       Are never things of trade. 'Twould be thy shame,
                       Star-gazing like yon dreamer, to be seen
                       By brother tradesmen. They would jeer thee much
                       With alehouse humor; and their truculent wit
                       Would bring the creature blood into thy cheeks,
                       And thou wouldst feel among thy brother men
                       As thou hadst done some crime, and for a while
                       Would shrink from the relation of thy deeds.


                       He thou rebukest in no kindly wise
                       Hath no such shame within him. In that star
                       He hath survey'd this hour, he joys to think


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                       He looks on God's own handiwork and deems,
                       So far as he may venture on such theme,
                       The structure of that planetary light
                       Marvellous as his own, and born to shine
                       When he and thou, and all of us are dead!
                       Thence doth he draw a hope--a glorious hope--
                       That this poor struggle--thou, for earth's goods and gear,
                       And he, as thou hast thought, grappling at naught,
                       But fancies and a shadow--will not be,
                       What his quick spirit teaches him is life.
                       The difference 'twixt his hope and thine is great,
                       If thou hast never tutor'd thus thy heart,
                       Nor felt of these delusions. He, indeed,
                       Lives on them ever--is made up of them,
                       And glories more in that thou think'st thy shame,
                       Than any Greek who won a hecatomb,
                       Or Roman with his triumph. Nor in this
                       Alone, he gathers fuel for the mood
                       That lessons his wild spirit. In all things,
                       For the vain labor thou dost so deplore,
                       Mind hath its compensation. Ideal worlds,
                       Where spirits of departed myriads roam,
                       Are in the poet's fancy. He surveys,
                       In every leaf, each waving tree and bush,
                       Wild ocean or still brooklet, rippling down
                       Through twigs and bending osiers night and day,
                       The form of some enjoyment--some true word
                       From never-swerving teachers, building up
                       The moral of his faith into a pile,
                       Its apex in the heavens. Nor, in this work
                       Of self-perfection and self-eminence,
                       Lacks he for aid and fellowship. They come--
                       Spirits and whispering shades, that in the hush,
                       The stillness of deep forests, are abroad,


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                       Obedient to his beck, whose lifted heart
                       May see them, and demand their services,
                       And make them slaves or teachers at his will.


                       Mock not the dream you may not understand,
                       Nor laugh to scorn the spirit whose pursuit
                       Stands not within the custom of the crowd.
                       The God who, to the offices of trade
                       Impell'd your aim, to him, perchance, assign'd
                       A duty--not like yours and yet not less
                       A duty--and he but pursues it now,
                       Even as assign'd him. The still flower that hides,
                       With speckled leaf, secure beneath yon cliff,
                       Gives odor to the breeze that cheers the heart
                       Of the consumptive--not less blest in this
                       Sad office, than the tree whose inner ring
                       Yields the small pouncet-box from which you feed
                       That nose you turn up, with so wise an air,
                       At the poor gazer on the journeying stars.

SONNETS.--THE SOUL IN IMAGINATIVE ART.

I.


                       METHINKS each noble purpose of man's heart,
                       Declared by his performance, crowns his works
                       With a becoming spirit, which still lurks
                       In what he builds, nor will from thence depart,
                       Though time bestows it on the solitude,
                       The solitude on Ruin, and her gray,
                       In moss and lichen honoring decay,
                       Makes her a refuge where a nobler mood
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                       Had rear'd a temple to diviner art,
                       And based its shrines on worship. In the stone
                       Dismember'd, sits that guardian shape alone,
                       Twin-being with the precious trust whose birth
                       Brought down a wandering genius to a throne,
                       And gave him thence a realm and power on earth.

II.


                       Thy thought but whisper'd rises up a spirit,
                       Wing'd, and from thence immortal. The sweet tone,
                       Freed by thy skill from prisoning wood or stone,
                       Doth thence for thine a tribute soul inherit!
                       When from the genius speaking in thy mind,
                       Thou hast evolved the godlike shrine or tower,
                       That moment does thy matchless art unbind
                       A spirit born for earth, and arm'd with power,
                       The fabric of thy love to watch and keep
                       From utter desecration. It may fall,
                       Thy structure,--and its gray stones topple all,--
                       But he who treads its portals feels how deep
                       A presence is upon him,--and his word
                       Grows hush'd, as if a shape, unseen beside him heard.

III.


                       At every whisper we endow with life
                       A being of good or evil,--who must thence,
                       Allegiance yield to that intelligence
                       Which, calling into birth decreed the strife
                       Which he must seek forever! The good thought
                       Is born a blessed angel that goes forth,
                       In ministry of gladness through the earth
                       Still teaching what is love, by love still taught!
                       The evil joins the numerous ranks of ill,
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                       And, born of curses, through the endless years,
                       'Till Time shall be no more, and human tears
                       Dried up in judgment,--must his curse fulfil!
                       Dream'st thou of what is blessing or unblest,
                       Thou tak'st a God or Demon to thy breast!

THE SHADED WATER.


                       WHEN that my mood is sad, and in the noise
                       And bustle of the crowd I feel rebuke,
                       I turn my footsteps from its hollow joys
                       And sit me down beside this little brook:
                       The waters have a music to mine ear
                       It glads me much to hear.


                       It is a quiet glen as you may see,
                       Shut in from all intrusion by the trees,
                       That spread their giant branches, broad and free,
                       The silent growth of many centuries;
                       And make a hallow'd time for hapless moods,
                       A sabbath of the woods.


                       Few know its quiet shelter,--none like me,
                       Do seek it out with such a fond desire,
                       Poring, in idlesse mood on flower and tree,
                       And listening as the voiceless leaves respire,--
                       When the far travelling breeze, done wandering,
                       Rests here his weary wing.


                       And all the day, with fancies ever new,
                       And sweet companions from their boundless store,


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                       Of merry elves bespangled all with dew,
                       Fantastic creatures of the old time lore,--
                       Watching their wild but unobtrusive play,
                       I fling the hours away.


                       A gracious couch,--the root of an old oak,
                       Whose branches yield it moss and canopy,--
                       Is mine--and so it be from woodman's stroke
                       Secure, shall never be resign'd by me;
                       It hangs above the stream that idly plies,
                       Heedless of any eyes.


                       There, with eye sometimes shut but upward bent,
                       Sweetly I muse through many a quiet hour,
                       While every sense on earnest mission sent,
                       Returns, thought-laden, back with bloom and flower
                       Pursuing, though rebuked by those who moil,
                       A profitable toil.


                       And still the waters trickling at my feet,
                       Wind on their way with gentlest melody,
                       Yielding sweet music which the leaves repeat,
                       Above them, to the gay breeze gliding by,--
                       Yet not so rudely as to send one sound
                       Through the thick copse around.


                       Sometimes a brighter cloud than all the rest
                       Hangs o'er the archway opening through the trees,
                       Breaking the spell that, like a slumber press'd
                       On my worn spirit its sweet luxuries,--
                       And, with awaken'd vision upward bent,
                       I watch the firmament.


                       How like--its sure and undisturb'd retreat,
                       Life's sanctuary at last, secure from storm--


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                       To the pure waters trickling at my feet,
                       The bending trees that overshade my form;
                       So far as sweetest things of earth may seem
                       Like those of which we dream.


                       Such, to my mind, is the philosophy
                       The young bird teaches, who, with sudden flight,
                       Sails far into the blue that spreads on high,
                       Until I lose him from my straining sight,--
                       With a most lofty discontent to fly,
                       Upward, from earth to sky.

AT A CHILD'S GRAVE.


                       SLEEP, dear one, in thy lowly bed,--
                       We strew thy grave with flowers,
                       Yet know that happier dawns shall shed
                       Such brightness round thy infant head,
                       As never gladden'd ours!


                       Not long thy sleep!--a summer night,
                       And then the eternal day,
                       All joy;--for sin hath brought no blight
                       To check thy free and happy flight
                       To bowers where all is gay.


                       Gay in the sinless thought, and dear
                       With pure delights, that grow
                       Still, in the eternal sunshine there,
                       To music, such as mortal sphere
                       May dream, but never know!


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                       Already, on thy infant face,
                       The soft repose would seem
                       To shadow forth the dawning grace
                       Of an ethereal hope and place,
                       Heaven's opening gates and gleam.


                       Ah! happier thus, and vain the tears
                       That vex thy sweet repose;
                       Why should thy hopes awake our fears,
                       Thy growing glories prompt our cares,
                       Thy raptures move our woes?


                       Thou'st 'scaped the cell--hast broke the chain,
                       Already wear'st thy wings;
                       Wilt never feel the grief again,
                       Wilt never know the guilt, the pain,
                       That vex all mortal things!


                       Already, at heaven's gate, with songs--
                       Thy angel gift at birth--
                       Proclaim'st to glad and greeting throngs,
                       Thy freedom from the woes and wrongs
                       That gloom'd thy home on earth!


                       That gloom it still to guardian eyes,--
                       That move their tears,--that wrest
                       From the strong bosom of man the sighs,
                       And wring with woe the soul that lies
                       Deep down in woman's breast.


                       Yet why the woe? For thee? And thou,
                       Afar and joyous!--Shame!--
                       Wouldst bring thee back, thus heavenward now,
                       To pangs of heart, to clouds of brow,
                       Long sorrows, strifes and blame!


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                       Why heart so sad? fond eyes why weep?
                       Cease mourners! Would ye wake
                       This little dreamer from the sleep,
                       That seems so beautiful and deep,
                       His weary eyelids take?

REMINISCENCE.


                       WHOSE is the heart that never beat,
                       With all it fancied yet of joy,
                       Returning to that blest retreat
                       Where he so fondly roved a boy;
                       When, after years of wandering grief,
                       Pursuing phantoms sweet but vain,
                       His wearied spirit seeks relief
                       In dear but homely haunts again?
                       When the old roof-tree fresh appears,
                       The lowly cottage-thatch and dome,
                       Which shelter'd well his boyish years,
                       And taught the virtues sweet of home.
                       The well-known plain, the ancient grove,
                       In all unchanged, as when he sped,
                       By Fate or Fancy taught to rove,
                       To worlds that gave him naught instead!


                       Ah! sicklied in the wasting chase,
                       By idlest hopes misled no more,
                       How fondly doth his thought retrace
                       The scenes that fill'd his heart before!
                       Here still the oak whose spreading arms
                       Gave shelter from the noonday heat;--
                       Here still the maid whose childish charms


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                       His childish fancy felt were sweet;
                       Here still the mead whose ample grounds
                       Gave scope to boyhood's eager flight;
                       And there the "old-field school," whose sounds
                       Spoke less for study than delight.


                       How natural do they all appear,
                       By time untouch'd, by age unbent;
                       The maiden still more bright and fair,
                       More wise and yet as innocent;
                       The oak scarce lustier in its might,
                       With bearded moss well-known of old,
                       And groves that gladden green in sight,
                       With song-bird gay and squirrel bold!


                       How swift the backward glance which runs
                       O'er thousand memories still as new
                       As if, unchanged by thousand suns,
                       The heart were fresh and changeless too!
                       What loves, what strifes, what hopes and fears
                       Grow thick about the laboring thought,
                       Until, unconscious of its tears,
                       The eye no longer sees the sought.
                       Memory, triumphant o'er the past,
                       Restores each dear possession gone;
                       And the world's orphan, long outcast,
                       Deems each lost treasure still his own!
                       Oh! stay the dream! Let Memory sway,
                       Nor all too soon the truth unfold,--
                       The cottage roof-tree in decay,
                       The sire, the friend, the maiden cold!


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EVENING BY THE SEA-SHORE.


                       How, with a spell of sweetness all her own,
                       The dew-eyed evening hallows the broad land!
                       She rises like a sovereign to her throne;
                       Earth sleeps; the waters murmur on the strand;
                       A breathing calm descending from the skies,
                       Wraps her wide realm in happiest harmonies.


                       There is no ruder breath than stirs the flowers,
                       Winning their proffer'd odor;--earth and air,
                       The sea,--even down amid the coralline bowers,
                       Seen through the perilous waters,--all is fair;
                       God's spirit, like a spell-word sent abroad,
                       Subdues earth's strife, makes sweet each gift of God!


                       The little wavelet breaking on the shore,
                       Brings with it kindly mission from the deep:
                       Its strifes at rest, its angry terrors o'er,
                       It feels the calm of brightness o'er it creep;
                       Shares in the kindred blessing of the skies,
                       And hallow'd like the land, in holiest beauty lies.


                       The winds that travell'd on its breast all night,
                       And rock'd their own great cradle till they slept,
                       Have caught up sweetest odors in their flight,
                       From the soft Haytien gardens;--they have swept
                       Fruit forests, where the generous tribute grows
                       Unheeded, and in vain its wealth on earth bestows.


                       What tidings doth such mournful truth convey
                       Of savage and regardless nature there!
                       Still the wild man, untutor'd to obey,
                       Makes foul the realm that Heaven hath made most fair:


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                       The heart that is not gentle hath no eyes
                       For beauty, and esteems no loving harmonies.


                       His mood is in the dark; he loves the night
                       Even in its stormier aspects;--skies, to him,
                       Which God hath robed in sweet, give no delight;
                       The moon herself might just as well be dim;
                       Breezes of bliss that sweep the placid sea,
                       Sing in his ears no song of sweet humanity.


                       Ah! dear their several voices in my breast,
                       Teaching the moral loving faith makes strong;
                       There is a hope that will not be repress'd,--
                       The strifes of earth shall cease and human wrong
                       Be but a theme for fiction--of a race
                       That lived in barbarous times, nor had the means of grace.


                       I feel it in the picture round me spread;
                       Earth link'd with heaven; old ocean won to calm,
                       And glassy smooth, as for an angel's tread;
                       Winds musical and zephyrs full of balm;
                       And the wild passions of my soul, they rest:--
                       There is not now a wrong within my breast.


                       I do forgive mine ancient enemy;--
                       I would that he were nigh to hear my prayer;
                       God's light be shining now upon his eye,
                       God's blessed voice, in mercy, reach his ear:
                       Hath he a child--may it be blest as she,
                       The one whom Heaven hath spared, of all my flock, to me.


                       These winds have blessings in them; they have come
                       From happiest realms where sorrow never dwells;
                       They rouse the languid nature to new bloom,
                       The thought expands, the soul in triumph swells;


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                       Ah! for the power this feeling to impart,
                       To tell these raptures rising in my heart!


                       The affections that have slumber'd in the strife,
                       Sweet charities that human strifes subdue,
                       And virtues, that man seldom keeps through life,
                       Return once more, to prove his nature true:
                       Still may the soul its fondest hope maintain,
                       When such as these come back to strengthen love again.


                       Oh! precious ministry of Eve, whose peace
                       Thus still commends the harmonies that soothe;
                       Still with thy stars in the great vault increase,
                       Still with thy breezes freshen hope with youth;
                       Breathe calm upon the hearts that strive with hate,
                       And smile on homes by wrong made desolate.

CONGAREE BOAT-HORN BY MOONLIGHT.

I.


                       As a bird leaving some desolate shore,
                       Slowly unclosing his vans for the flight,
                       Then upward cleaving the sky that before,
                       Softly reposing, lay sweet in the night;
                       Thus gently soaring from Congaree's stream,
                       Swelling and spreading through forest and bay,
                       A pinion exploring in search of a beam,
                       Soothing and shedding a bliss on its way!

II.


                       Luscious in sadness and lovely in light,
                       Melting while swelling and failing when won,
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                       Tears of a gladness that, born of a flight,
                       Weeps the rebelling that leaves her undone!
                       Oh! that a billow thus swelling and fair,
                       Should ever subsiding steal off from the bright;
                       Music its pillow and rapture so rare,
                       Ever more gliding through dreams of its night.

III.


                       Wings that, ascending, still bear me away,
                       Lose me not, falling from rapture's own sphere;
                       With my thought blending its happiness sway,
                       As a voice calling through measureless air;
                       Still, with these daughters of Congaree's stream,
                       Born of thee only in moonlight and song,--
                       Still o'er these waters ascend with a gleam,
                       'Till with the lonely thou leavest a throng.

SONNETS.--INVOLUNTARY STRUGGLE.

I.


                       NOT in the rashness of warm confidence,
                       Too vainly, self-assured that I was strong,
                       To struggle for and reach that eminence,
                       Around whose rugged steeps such terrors throng;
                       Did I resolve upon the perilous toil
                       Which calls for man's best strength and hardihood,
                       Ere he may win the height and take the spoil;--
                       But that a spirit stronger than my mood,
                       Stood ever by and drave me to the task!--
                       Oh! not in vain presumption did I choose
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                       The barren honors of the unfruitful Nine,
                       Sure that no favor from them did I ask;
                       Small resolution did it need of mine,
                       To bind me to the service of the Muse!

II.


                       Even as the boy whom the stern prophet sire
                       Devotes, in some deep forest, with a vow--
                       So, with no thought of mine, and no desire,
                       Was I constrain'd to seek and sworn to bow
                       At altars, whose strange gods did never tire
                       Of service, but commanded night and day!
                       I Knew no sports of comrades,--when in play
                       My young companions shouted, I was sad;
                       Fill'd with strange yearnings,--summon'd still away
                       To that lone worship--watchful, yet not glad!
                       Shall it be deem'd a voluntary mood
                       That leads the boy from boyhood,--sports he loves,--
                       The merry games of comrades,--still to brood,
                       While others laugh, in melancholy groves?

TO THE MOCK-BIRD,

SINGING GAYLY IN MY ROOF-TREES THE NIGHT AFTER THE DEATH OF ONE OF MY CHILDREN.


                       THE grief that is at riot in my heart
                       Would harshly chide to silence thy sweet song,
                       Vain minstrel, that beside my window sing'st,
                       Couch'd in thy guarded nest, of all its joys,--
                       Its peace secure from spoiler--its delights,
                       That spring from mutual souls. with mutual wings,
                       That know one course for flight, and seek no more;


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                       Thus linking, through the long, long summer day,
                       Their happy, idle songs.
                       Thy rapture brings
                       My grief. Thou mock'st me, though thou little know'st,
                       With hopes I cannot feel, and loves that now
                       Shall make me blest no more. Go, make thy nest
                       In gardens, where the thoughtless ear of joy
                       May list thee,--and the idle lips of youth
                       Give thee meet welcome, in a strain as loud,
                       Though not so sweet as thine. Beneath my tree
                       Sits Sorrow. At her feet her treasure lies--
                       Her young! Go, tremble in thy peaceful nest,
                       And know, no innocence is so secure
                       That Death presumes not. Happiest songs like thine,
                       Caroll'd above that young bird at its birth;
                       And oh! what joyful dreams were in the hearts
                       Of the fond pair that watch'd it. Idlest dreams,
                       Of sweetest summer days, when all their toil
                       Should be to guide its little wings in flight,
                       And hearken to its callow song of love,
                       That now can never rise. Leave this lone tree!--
                       Sing not those wild and vagrant notes that make
                       The sad heart loathe thy accents. Other groves
                       Will give thee shelter, where no spoiler comes,
                       Or latest comes. Grief claims this home for hers,
                       For solitude and mourning. Here she craves
                       More fit companionship with ghostly thoughts;
                       Shadows that might be smiles, but for the cloud
                       About them; and the tenderest loves that grew
                       To sorrows, in the morning of their day,
                       And so were hallow'd. 'Tis no home for thee!--
                       When thou hast lost thy brood--when the hawk strikes
                       Thy fledgling, come thou back and take thy rest,
                       As thou hast done of old, within thy tree;


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                       And sing, if sing thou canst. I will not chide,
                       For then, methinks, thy strain will, like mine own,
                       Tell of thy treasure--of its loveliness,
                       Bright, dazzling eyes, and of its little chirp,
                       All sweetness, but which never swell'd to song.

SONNETS.--DESPONDENCY AND SELF-REPROACH.

I.


                       OH friend, but thou art come to see me die!
                       I parted from thee as I think in tears,
                       Alas! in tears that we should meet again:
                       Yet have they been my proper property,
                       And not for me to boast their needful pain,
                       Since 'twas my wilful, sad perversity,
                       That made them mine in my unreasoning years!
                       Yet if thou com'st for solace, give me thine,
                       For sympathy with sorrow still endears;
                       Grief seeks her happiest medicine in grief,
                       And, doom'd no more in silence to repine,
                       Finds in the kindred fortune best relief!
                       Ah! weeping thus, in such sweet company,
                       Methinks this sorrow is not wholly mine!

II.


                       Hadst thou come sooner! But 'tis not too late
                       To soothe, though late to save! Thou canst not know
                       The profligate waste of hope, the scorn of fate
                       Which brings me now to this unmeasured woe!
                       The bitter birthright of unreckoning will,
                       The much too perfect freedom of my youth--
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                       Oh privilege! to youth so perilous still,
                       Given by a fate as void of love as truth!
                       To these I owe this sorrow, and to these
                       The ruin that awaits my little bark,
                       Driven with too docile breezes on the seas
                       Till on the rocks, when skies grew sudden dark,
                       Foundering, she darted high, to sink as low
                       As hate might joy to see, as guilt and grief may go.

III.


                       Ah! thou didst use to steer her chartfully,
                       But when we parted, wilful on the deep,
                       I launch'd, too bold the modest shore to keep,
                       Considering not the storm-conceiving sky,
                       The wind's caprice; that still a music gave,
                       As for an infant's slumber; nor the rocks,
                       That, fraudulent lurking, hush'd their wonted roar,
                       And buried their white heads along the shore,
                       Till, in their gripe, their keel-destroying shocks
                       Wreck'd me forever! Thou art late to save;
                       But thou wilt raise a beacon on the steep,
                       That other wrecks will happen here no more;
                       And if thou build it from this wreck of mine,
                       Even though it shame my grave, 'twill honor thine.

STANZAS IN APRIL.


                       A FEW light drifts of fleecy snow,
                       And all the skies are bright again,
                       While gusts of March subdued, now blow
                       In murmurs only o'er the plain;


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                       They speak of milder guests at hand,
                       And gentler powers that take the sway,
                       Sweet nymphs of Spring, a joyous band,
                       That dance around the maiden May!


                       Ah! precious flowers, that to the heart
                       Appeal with promise long to cheer;
                       Beneath my feet I see ye start,
                       In token of the awakening year;
                       Even while the snow-drift sweeps the plain,
                       Your leaves of blue are gleaming low,
                       Above the very spot again,
                       Which made your graves a year ago.


                       Ye had your mission for a while,
                       And served as teachers sweet of love,
                       As infant souls appear to smile,
                       Then flee, to tempt our souls above;
                       A thousand seasons hence, when I
                       Within a grave like yours recline,
                       My children shall your blossoms spy,
                       And muse with grateful thoughts like mine.

A LAST PRAYER.

I.


                       SWEET be the laughing skies around,
                       And sunny flowers be seen,
                       And let a carpet strew the ground,
                       Of summer's richest green--
                       Thus, when the weary strife is o'er,
                       Should still our parting be;
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                       I would not have one heart deplore
                       When it remembers me.

II.


                       Lay me in pleasant earth's embrace
                       When all things smile around,
                       When eyes of gentleness may trace
                       Sweet blossoms on the ground--
                       When merriest birds delight to sing,
                       And chirping insects swell
                       A gracious note of early spring,
                       O'er the spot wherein I dwell.

III.


                       Not that, when slumbering in its shade,
                       My 'wilder'd soul may dream
                       That I shall hear one cricket's chirp,
                       Or wandering mock-bird's scream;
                       But, at a time when all are glad,
                       If the dead may solaced be,
                       I would be sure if aught was sad,
                       It was not so through me.

IV.


                       I would not have a stone to mark
                       The place of my repose,
                       Nor, chronicled in clumsy verse,
                       The story of my woes--
                       My virtues, such as are my own,
                       In some true heart will bloom--
                       My vices, when I'm dead and gone,
                       Should moulder in my tomb.
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V.


                       There let the summer's leaflets blow,
                       And blossom 'neath the morn,
                       And primrose buds and daisies grow,
                       The moment spring is born--
                       And let the hours, a sweet serene,
                       Around my dwelling throng--
                       While birds and bees with vocal hum,
                       Make merry all with song.

VI.


                       And if in life there be one heart
                       That song or speech of mine,
                       Counsell'd by erring sympathies,
                       Hath tutor'd to repine--
                       Let not that gentle heart upbraid,
                       With eye or aspect dim,
                       The father of the wayward verse
                       When it remembers him.

VII.


                       Or, if the latest prayer be vain,
                       And some fond heart shall weep,
                       And pour above his grave a strain
                       Of memories, sad and deep;
                       Let the tear fall in loneliness,
                       I would not crowds should see
                       The dear but silent intercourse
                       Such heart shall hold with me.


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ZEPHYRS, THAT WAIT ON MY LADY.

A SOUTHERN AREYTO.

I.


                       ZEPHYRS, that wait on my lady,
                       Plumes, that still soothe her to rest,
                       My spirit grows jealous already,
                       Lest in blessing ye too should be blest;
                       Yet lift ye the curls of her tresses,
                       And bend to her lips at each sigh,
                       And fold her in fondest caresses,
                       That these may be mine when ye fly;--
                       Sweet zephyrs,
                       These bring me whenever ye fly!

II.


                       I know why ye tend on the showers,
                       I know why ye glide to the deep,
                       And watch by the side of the flowers
                       To rifle their lips as they sleep;
                       Their freshness and odor ye carry
                       To woo the fair maiden to rest,
                       And then at her lattice ye tarry,
                       Like blessings to rob from her breast:
                       Sly zephyrs!
                       Would, like ye, I could also be blest!


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SUMMER-NIGHT WIND.


                       How soothingly, to close the sultry day,
                       Comes the sweet breeze from off the murmuring waves,
                       That break away in music!--and I feel
                       As a new spirit were within my veins
                       And a new life in nature. I awake
                       From the deep weight of weariness that fell,
                       Pall-like, upon my spirit as my frame,
                       Making the sense of helplessness a pain,
                       Even to the soul;--a fresher pulse of life
                       Throbs quickly through each vein and artery,
                       And a new wing, a livelier nerve and strength,
                       Kindle the languid spirit into play.


                       Oh! generous nature, this is then thy boon,
                       These airs that come with evening--these sweet spells
                       That glide into the bosom with the embrace,
                       Whose very touch is life, and on the frame,
                       O'erborne and humbled by the oppressive weight
                       Of this fierce August atmosphere, bestow'st
                       A sense as precious as the boon that takes
                       The captive from his dungeon, and provides
                       The wings for his departure to free realms
                       Where no oppression harbors. Oh! I lift
                       My brow, as with a consciousness of power
                       I had not known before. I drink a joy
                       Most like a rapture, from each gushing air
                       That rustles and ruffles over the green shrub
                       And the gay orange, late so motionless,
                       That half obscure my window. Precious airs,
                       Full of delicious affluence, flow on


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                       With wings that beat the drowsy atmosphere,
                       Until, in emulous murmur like your own,
                       It mates with ye in anthem, such as thrills
                       The Atlantic, till each billow takes a voice,
                       And echoes the deep chant.
                       Ye come! I feel
                       Your wings in playful office all about me,
                       Lifting the moisten'd hair upon my brows,
                       As if some spirit fann'd me. Is it not
                       A spirit, thus wrought from subtlest elements,
                       Child of the storm, perchance of ocean born,
                       But with commission sweet to check its sire
                       And soothe his rage to fondness? Thou persuad'st
                       His passions to repose beside the sea,
                       And chid'st his billows. With a sportive play
                       Thou steal'st the freshening vigor from his waves,
                       And bear'st it to the fainting on the waste
                       Where other wings are fire, and nature droops
                       Amidst her richest treasures.
                       Ah! how sweet
                       That fervent gush that shook apart the boughs,
                       And made the orange quiver beneath the eaves,
                       Even to its odorous roots.
                       Had I the voice
                       To mingle with that mighty chant, and grow
                       With its caprices flexible--now borne
                       A torrent through the void, and now a sigh,
                       Drooping with folded wing beside the couch,
                       As glad but gentle in the duteous office,
                       That soothes even while it stirs! Again the strain
                       Swelling in gradual volume, till the burst
                       Mocks the cathedral anthem, and rolls on,
                       Precursor of new billows of proud song
                       That grow to mountains on the beaten beach,


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                       Suddenly to subside in the great deeps
                       That sent them first abroad. How lowlily
                       The murmurs waken now, and now the voice
                       Sinks audibly, with seeming consciousness:--
                       As one, a maid, that falters in her sports,
                       Steals back with sweet timidity of step,
                       As fearing that, in very guilelessness,
                       Her play hath been too wild; and now, as bold,
                       By truer thought, that forward glides again,
                       Renewing dance and song, surpassing still,
                       With each fresh effort, the repeated grace.
                       How wild that sudden gust--how sweet that breath
                       That seem'd to borrow music from the groves
                       Of Paphos, kindling to an amorous mood
                       The sense so lately dull! Alas! it shrinks!
                       The breeze's virtue is not constancy!--
                       What gay caprice!--but hence its secret fervor,
                       The charm that piques to renovate the heart,
                       And cools to fan its fires. It shrinks away
                       To gather up new strength. Subdued and awed,
                       It wantons forth at moments--a soft breath,
                       That whispers at the lattice--then creeps in
                       As doubtful of permission:--to be seen
                       Swelling the shrinking drapery of the couch,
                       Then melting into silence. Now, again,
                       It comes, and with a perfume in its breath,
                       Caught up from spicy gardens. The fair maid
                       Whose roses thus yield tribute to the march
                       Of that wild rover, guesses not the thief,
                       Whose fierce embrace thus robs them of their youth,
                       And virgin treasure--leaving them at morn
                       To weep that eager, fond soliciting,
                       They knew not to resist. Yet I rejoice
                       That they are thus despoil'd. 'Twere an ill wind


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                       That brought to none its treasure. Is it not
                       A loving providence that thus provides
                       With blessing such as this, the unfavor'd one
                       Who else had never known it? In my cot,
                       Who sees the precious flowers of foreign growth,
                       From whose unfolding bosoms, this wild thief
                       Drinks the aroma to bestow on me?
                       My lordly neighbor's palace frowns me down,
                       His walls shut out my footsteps--his great gates
                       Open not to bid me enter, and mine eyes
                       Catch but faint glimpses of that prisoner realm,
                       His floral Harem, where his flowers but fade,
                       Having no proper worshipper. Yet in vain
                       His stone precautions and his iron gates,
                       Against my Ariel, my tricksy spirit,
                       That comes to me again with sweets so laden
                       As half to check his flight.
                       My precious breeze,
                       Misfortune well may love thee. Thou hast fled
                       The gayest regions. The high palaces,
                       Fair groves and gardens of nice excellence,--
                       The pride of power--the pageantry and pomp
                       That gild ambition and conceal its cares,--
                       Could not detain thee! Thou hast fled them all,
                       And, like an angel, still on blessing bent,
                       Hast come to cheer the lonely. It is meet
                       Thy welcome should be lavish like thyself.
                       Thou art no flatterer, and thou shouldst not creep
                       Through a close lattice with but half thy train,
                       When I would gather all of thee, and wrap
                       Thy draperies about me, as a robe
                       Dear as the first dews of the embracing spring
                       To the young buds of nature.
                       Sweet, oh! sweet,


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                       Thy play about my brows. Thy whispers tell
                       Of songs in tree-tops when the forest pines
                       Give shelter, 'neath their ample and green boughs
                       In dark and mighty colonnades, to airs
                       That had no refuge else. They whisper me
                       A music such as glads the o'erladen heart,
                       Subdued, yet sleepless, fever'd with the heat
                       Of the long day in summer. Dear the dream
                       Thy service brings me. The still vexing care
                       Of body sleepless, that still troubles mind,
                       And makes one long commotion in the brain,
                       Grows soothed beneath thy ministry; and now,
                       Slumbers so coy, and woo'd so long in vain,
                       Are wrapping me at last. I will lie down
                       Beneath my window. There shall be no bar
                       To thy free entrance. Thou wilt linger here,
                       And with thy wings above my wearied brow,
                       Will put aside the masses of my hair
                       With a mysterious kindness--'till my sleep
                       Shall seem to me, in dreams which thou wilt shape,
                       Hallow'd by Love's officious tenderness,
                       And watch'd by one, the heart's ideal beauty,
                       Whose smile shall be a treasure like thine own,
                       Though never, in the experience of the day,
                       It finds the mortal match for my desire.


Page 132

SONNETS.--PROGRESS IN DENIAL.

I.


                       "YET, onward still!" the spirit cries within,
                       'Tis I that must repay thee. Mortal fame,
                       If won, is but at best the hollow din,
                       The vulgar freedom with a mighty name;
                       Seek not this music--ask not this acclaim,
                       But in the strife find succor;--for the toil
                       Pursued for such false barter ends in shame,
                       As certainly as that which seeks but spoil!
                       Best recompense he finds, who, to his task
                       Brings a proud, patient spirit that will wait,
                       Nor for the guerdon stoop, nor vainly ask
                       Of fate or fortune,--but with right good-will,
                       Go, working on, and uncomplaining still,
                       Assured of fit reward or soon or late!

II.


                       Thousands must perish in this hopeless strife,
                       And other thousands, withering as they stand,
                       Grow old in the long conflict waged for life!--
                       The conflict not for homes, or gold, or land,
                       But the rare privilege of rule,--command
                       Over the meaner spirits that surround--
                       And worship while they mock--that starry band,
                       They call ambitious! Rivalry and Blame
                       Attend their footsteps,--envy, and the host
                       Of reptile passions that delight to wound
                       The spirits whom their hatred honor's most,--
                       And worse, Ingratitude!--that still from fame
                       Plucks its best laurel, as if loth to know
                       How much it owes and cannot help but owe.


Page 133

BALLAD.


                       GIVE me thy song of sorrow;
                       Its 'plainings touch the heart,
                       First born of melancholy,
                       And not of mortal art:
                       It strengthens though it saddens,
                       A love-commission'd thing;
                       Oh! sorrow's song is holy,
                       And thus, I pray thee, sing!


                       Sing while the shadows deepen
                       Upon you hill whose brow
                       Wears still the flickering sunlight,
                       But whence 'tis flitting now;
                       Sing of the fading beauty,
                       Sing of the coming night,
                       And as our eyes grow tearful,
                       Methinks they must grow bright.


                       Let him who has not sorrow'd
                       With loss of things most dear,
                       Exult in music's triumph,
                       And joy in Hope's career;
                       But he who weeps the parting
                       That made each blessing brief,
                       Will seek from music only
                       The song that wakens grief.


Page 134

IMMORTALITY.

I.


                       BESIDE me, in a dream of the deep night,
                       Unsummon'd, but in loveliness array'd,
                       Stood a warm, blue-eyed maid;
                       And the night fled before her, and the bloom
                       Of her eternal beauty from my sight
                       Dispell'd the midnight gloom.

II.


                       She stood beside me, and her white hand fell,
                       A touch of life and light upon my brow,--
                       That straightway felt the freshening waters flow,
                       As from a heart whose tides had sudden might
                       In the bright presence of some holy spell,--
                       Whose smile at once brought strength with new delight.

III.


                       And in her voice a winningness prevail'd,--
                       A music born of waters that go free
                       Through forests gladden'd in their greenery,
                       And lapsing through their leaves, as in a play
                       Of song and bird, by flower and beam regaled,
                       Whose pastimes are not ended with the day.

IV.


                       Hers was a voice of wings;--the linnet's note,
                       The lark's clear morning song of upper skies,
                       The dove's sweet plaint of tenderness and sighs;--
                       And the unparallel'd life within her own,
                       Made these a happier music than they brought
                       Unchorus'd, when they caroll'd forth alone!
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V.


                       Her eye was its own music,--its own flight,--
                       As if, commercing ever with the spheres,
                       It strove for harmonies to mate with theirs,
                       And wings to pass from star to star at will;--
                       To shun the province yielded up to night,
                       For realms of brightness still!

VI.


                       The living speech upon her lips, in fire
                       Rose swelling like a soul;--while in her eye
                       The truth that blossoms with divinity,
                       Ray'd out with golden brightness, and awoke
                       Within my heart a pulse of new desire,
                       That burst each ancient yoke.

VII.


                       Then, in my rapture, I had lain my head
                       Upon the soft swell of that happy round,
                       That rose up like a white celestial mound,--
                       As saying,--"bring your gifts to this one shrine;"
                       But that her brow's clear will soon banishéd
                       The fond resolve from mine!

VIII.


                       I did not quail or tremble at her glance,
                       For still it seem'd as she were there to bring
                       New loves to crown my hope, a newer wing,
                       And open better provinces of life;--
                       Within her smile I saw deliverance,
                       And broad new realms for strife.
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IX.


                       Yet broken was my speech, and forth I stood
                       Despairing, though immersed in certain bliss,
                       Lest I should lose, in my soul's feebleness,
                       The embrace that now seem'd needful to content;
                       And tears were all that the impetuous blood
                       Vouchsafed, of all it meant!

X.


                       Then sweeter grew the smile upon her face,
                       As conscious of my suffering and my truth,
                       Her heart for mine was sudden smit with ruth;
                       And she made answer, not with human word,--
                       But in her smile, and the intelligent grace
                       Of motion, was she heard.

XI.


                       "Thy wish is thy performance," said she then;--
                       "And thou wilt take me to thy arms anon
                       When thou hast put thy loftier nature on,
                       And made me the sole passion in thy heart;
                       But not for thee, when we shall meet again,
                       To be what now thou art!

XII.


                       "And 'tis for thy soliciting to say,
                       Whether my form will show to thee as now;--
                       It may be thou wilt shrink to see the brow,
                       Which, though in loveliness it now appears,
                       May so affront thee, thou wilt turn away
                       In terror and in tears!
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XIII.


                       "If that the passion thou hast felt for me
                       Live in thy future memory, thou wilt raise
                       Thy altar and thy anthem in my praise;
                       And I will light thy fires and wing thy strain;--
                       But if I lose thee from my love, for thee
                       My presence must be pain.

XIV.


                       "'Tis written, we shall meet;--'tis written more,
                       Thou shalt be mine, I thine; and we must go
                       Forever link'd through ages that still flow
                       From founts of time eternal, to no end,
                       Save one of toil, which we may both deplore,
                       Or covet, as thy single wishes tend.

XV.


                       "Our future is performance! Worlds are placed
                       Around us for possession; and, in these
                       We make our separate mansions as we please,
                       And choose the separate task that each fulfil;
                       In these, or happy and blest,--or low debased,--
                       Must wait upon thy will.

XVI.


                       "And thus, in a brief vision of the night,
                       I show thee what I am, that thou mayst see
                       How great the blessings that still wait on thee,
                       Even at thy pleasure:--Could I show thee more,
                       Then should thy wonder grow with thy delight,
                       At what is in my store.
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XVII.


                       "I come not with denial, though I now
                       Deny thee my embrace;--thy head shall lie
                       Upon this bosom--on thy doubtful eye
                       This form shall rise at last, whate'er thou beest;
                       For thee to say, how fair shall be the brow,
                       How bright the eye, which, in that day thou seest.

XVIII.


                       "Oh! 'tis to all my charms that I entreat
                       Thy coming;--thou shalt have my crown and wings;
                       For thee, the bird that late and early sings,
                       When hope is at the entrance, shall appear;
                       And we will glide, with pinions at our feet,
                       To tasks by Love made dear!

XIX.


                       "Come to me then, beloved one, with thy heart
                       Made pure in my remembrance--with thy though
                       By hope of triumph in mine forever taught
                       To seek the unnamed condition of delight;--
                       So shall I meet thee, fond as now thou art,
                       Thou me, as now I seem unto thy sight!"

XX.


                       Rapture, oh rapture!--wherefore wert thou born
                       So soon to perish?--thou, a part of death,
                       Art lost to being with thy first sweet breath,
                       And lifelong then we mourn thee, with an eye,
                       Turn'd outwards, inwards--with the look forlorn--
                       Too happy, if it seeks for thee on high.


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EVENING AT SEA.


                       DAY sinks in rosy vestments that, afar
                       Spread o'er the billows, as with guardian office,
                       To shelter his decline. Gorgeous in gold
                       And purple, fall the curtains of the west,
                       In the same gracious duty;--his repose
                       Screening from vulgar gaze of those who late
                       Had flourish'd in his favor. Now they fleet,
                       Those clouds of glorious garniture and shade,
                       Changing their apt varieties of form,
                       No less than hue and loveliness, to lines
                       That melt even while they linger, in the embrace
                       Of the fast-rising Night; who, like a mother,
                       Takes all within her fold. A little while,
                       And darkness sways the ocean, whose great waves
                       Grow sullen as they murmur through the gloom,
                       Resentful of its shadows.--But anon,
                       Comes forth the maiden Moon,--her sickle bent
                       For service in these fields; a glorious blade,
                       Of silver, that subdues them at a stroke,
                       Leaving the keen reflection of its edge
                       On every heaving hillock as she goes!
                       How rare the hush that follows! Not a wave
                       Lifts its rebellious head; but, lawn'd in light,
                       Subdues itself most willing to the embrace
                       Of that perfecting beauty which makes all
                       Her tribute objects precious, though obscure!
                       How sudden sinks the wind, that, but a while,
                       Took a capricious play upon its vans,
                       And shook our streamers out! The heavenly things


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                       Seem brooding o'er our path; the great abyss
                       Of deep and sky, flush'd with intelligent forms,
                       The herds of eyes, the numerous flocking stars,
                       Gazing in wonder on the serene march.

WHERE BY DARRO'S EVENING WATERS.

I.


                       WHERE by Darro's evening waters
                       Hang the weeping willows low,
                       There they sat, the twilight's daughters,
                       Ever beautiful with woe:--
                       Murmuring songs of fitful sorrow,--
                       Sorrow mingled with such sweetness,
                       That it would not know completeness
                       But for softening tears that borrow
                       From the yielding heart compliance;--
                       And such touching, fond reliance
                       On the rapture of the morrow,--
                       That the hearer weeps for pleasure,
                       As the music o'er him creeps,
                       And he finds increasing measure,
                       In his pleasure, that he weeps!

II.


                       Sleeps he then beside the waters,
                       By that twilight song oppress'd;
                       Softly gliding then, the daughters
                       Steal beside his rest;--
                       Three young maids of touching sweetness,
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                       Born of dew, and light, and air,
                       Mourning still the life of fleetness,
                       That belongs to birth so rare!--
                       Yet, so human still their 'plaining,
                       In his heart strange pangs arise,
                       And a new life they are gaining,
                       From the drops that fill his eyes.
                       Reason good for sorrow's power,
                       In that sad and dreaming hour--
                       Far beyond their hapless plight,
                       Is his own and kindred birth;--
                       Born of air, and dew, and light,
                       He is also born of earth!

SOUL-FLIGHT.

I.


                       WHAT checks the eagle's wing--what dims his eye,
                       Turn'd upward to the sky?
                       Doth the cloud cumber the ascending flight
                       Of that which is all light?
                       Fruitless, indeed, were such a frail defence
                       Against intelligence;
                       And all in vain the chains of earth would bind
                       The disembodied mind!

II.


                       Glorious and unrestrainéd on its way,
                       It seeks the endless day;
                       It drinks more deeply of the intenser air,
                       That streams with being there;
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                       A thing of sense and sight, it early learns,
                       And sees, adores, and burns;
                       Claiming, with every breath from out the sky,
                       Its own divinity.

III.


                       From world to world, from gathering star to star,
                       Its flight is fast and far;
                       As through an ordeal, it prepares in each
                       Some higher form to reach;
                       From the small orb that lights the outer gate
                       Of that all-nameless state,
                       To that which burns before the eternal throne,
                       Fearless it hurries on.

IV.


                       Dread mystery, that to the mortal sight,
                       Seems all one shapeless night,--
                       Wild with unbidden clouds, that flickering haste
                       Still o'er a pathless waste,
                       Without one intellectual planet's ray
                       To yield a partial day;
                       Will death reveal the truth to sons of men?--
                       Shall we explore you then?

V.


                       I would not be the creature of the clay,
                       Mouldering with time away,
                       Nor hold, for my soul's hope, the awful thought
                       That death is all, life naught!--
                       That all this soaring mind, this high desire
                       Still upward to aspire,
                       Is but the yearning of some painted thing
                       That would not lose its wing.


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THE CHILD-ANGEL.


                       IT is our blessing that her lot was fair--
                       The precious birthright of the dew and air,
                       The green and shade of woods, the song of birds,
                       And dreams too bright for words--
                       All that makes moonlight for the innocent heart,
                       And love, that, in its bud, is still its crowning part.


                       The sadness of the spring-time in the shade
                       Of dusk--the shadows of the night array'd,
                       By stars in the great forests, as they look,
                       Glistening, as from a brook;
                       And stillness in the gloom, that seems a sound,
                       Breathed up, unconscious, out from nature's great profound


                       Fancies, that go beside us when we glide,
                       Still seeking no companion--prompt to guide
                       Even where we would not, to the saddest grove,
                       Where one still weeps for love,--
                       Still nursing ever a most sweet distress,
                       That through our very sorrow seems to bless;--


                       These, since the child's departure, still declare
                       Her precious birthright in the dew and air--
                       And I, that do inherit them from her,
                       Do feel them minister,
                       As with new voices never felt before,
                       To love that in my heart still groweth more and more.


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CAPE HATTERAS.


                       "AH! by these breezes--(how unlike the airs
                       That clipp'd us when we sought our berths last night!)--
                       These languid breezes, and the odorous breath
                       That sweeps to us from forests of green pines,
                       I know that we have pass'd the stormy Cape!"


                       Exclaiming thus, when, waking at the dawn,
                       I hurried from the cabin to the deck,
                       And there--his wrath subdued, his winds at rest--
                       Lay the fierce god of cloudy Hatteras,
                       At length upon the deep. Our vessel ran
                       Beside him fearless, and the eyes that oft
                       Had trembled at the story of his storms
                       Look'd on him without dread. Yet, in his sleep,
                       The sun down blazing on his old gray head,
                       There was a moody murmur of his waves
                       That spake of ruthless powers, and bade us fly
                       To our far homes, with wings of moving fear
                       Not less than hope. We might not loiter long,
                       Like thoughtless birds, improvident of home,
                       And wandering, by the sunshine still seduced,
                       O'er treacherous billows. No half despot he,
                       To spare in mercy in his wrathful hour.
                       A thousand miles along his sandy couch
                       The shores shall feel his wakening, and his lash
                       Resound in thunder. Brooding by the sea
                       He lurks in waiting for the passing bark,
                       And every year hath its own chronicle
                       Of his exactions--of the fearful tribute


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                       He takes from all alike. Cruel the tale
                       Of friends that here pay forfeit with their lives
                       For the o'erweening faith that trusts his calms;--
                       Whilst the beloved ones, watching by the port,
                       Look vainly for their coming. Sad the tale
                       Of the poor maiden, shrieking in despair,
                       Grasp'd in his rude embrace, and borne away
                       To unreturning caverns of the deep,--
                       Which, with an aspect obdurate, behold
                       The precious lamp of life put sudden out
                       Even its kindling glow. Yet are there hours
                       When the true spirit of love defies his rage;
                       And, in one night of terror and of storm,
                       When his wild seas were wildest--and the ship
                       Strove, sinking 'neath them,--and all living souls
                       Were all distraught--all hopeless, purposeless,
                       Struggling against each other as with death--
                       Blind, knowing not the kinsman or the friend,--
                       Calling on God, with but a half a prayer,--
                       And him forgettingly;--one voice, o'er all,
                       Was heard amid the clamor and the storm,
                       Firm, crying for the woman who had lain,
                       Until that fearful hour, upon his breast,
                       And now was sunder'd from him by the night,
                       Unconsciously:--"Oh! where art thou, my wife!"
                       That loving cry was heard above the storm;--
                       The winds grew moment still;--the tumbling waves
                       Lifted their heads as in a grim surprise,
                       And paused in their huge gambols! Ah! too soon
                       To rush to their renewal. The fond cry
                       Was stifled ere it rose into the heavens,
                       But not before the wife made answer sweet,
                       That, through the midnight blackness, seem'd a voice


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                       To waken life in death;--"I come to thee,
                       Where art thou, dearest husband? Let me come!"*

        * The incident, as related in the text, really happened. The facts, known by survivors, were subsequently adduced in evidence in a court of justice, and constituted the point upon which the direction was given to the estates of the parties.



                       She sprang to join him, and the sullen seas
                       Closed over them forever. 'Tis my prayer
                       That, ere he perish'd, she had wound her arms
                       About him, and had press'd her lip to his:--
                       And it were seemly, if, beneath the waves,
                       They sleep encircled in the same embrace;--
                       Her cheek upon his bosom, and his arms
                       Wrapt round her in the holy grasp of love;
                       Secure from storm, and, best assurance yet,
                       Secure from separation evermore!

SONNET.--THE AGE OF GOLD.


                       THESE times deserve no song--they but deride
                       The poet's holy craft,--nor his alone;
                       Methinks as little courtesy is shown
                       To what was chivalry in days of pride:
                       Honor but meets with mock:--the worldling shakes
                       His money-bags, and cries--"My strength is here;
                       O'erthrows my enemy, his empire takes,
                       And makes the ally serve, the alien fear!"
                       Is love the object? Cash is conqueror,--
                       Wins hearts as soon as empires--puts his foot
                       Upon the best affections, and will spur
                       His way to eloquence, when Faith stands mute;
                       And for Religion,--can we hope for her,
                       When love and valor serve the same poor brute!


Page 147

BILLOWS.


                       GENTLY, with sweet commotion,
                       Sweeping the shore,
                       Billows that break from ocean,
                       Rush to our feet;
                       Slaves that, with fond devotion,
                       Prone to adore,
                       Seek not to stint with measure,
                       Service that's meet;--
                       Bearing their liquid treasure,
                       Flinging it round,
                       Shouting the while the pleasure
                       True service knows,
                       Then, as if bless'd with leisure,
                       Flung on the yellow ground
                       Taking repose!

FALL OF THE LEAF.

I.


                       THE leaves, the pleasant and green leaves that hung
                       Abroad in the gay summer woods, are dead;
                       They do not hear the morning carols sung
                       By the sad birds that miss the blooms they shed;
                       They know not of the vacancy they leave,
                       The cheerlessness of trees to which they clung--
                       How even the winds for their departure grieve,
                       How birds grow silent; how the groaning boughs
                       Rock sorrowful, the sport of every breeze;
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                       And as a nun that takes the proper vows,
                       How nature hoods her beauty in her woe,
                       And silent walks beneath the naked trees,
                       Much wondering that she still survives the blow.
                       With such a silent sorrow on each tongue,
                       I marvel that their last dirge be not sung!

II.


                       Shall not the vagrant and light wooing breeze,
                       Fresh from its native seas
                       In the Pacific, wandering with the sun,--
                       While hurrying onward through the well-known trees
                       That now no more, as in sweet days of yore,
                       Yield shade and comfort to the desolate one,--
                       Prepare his dirge, and on the midnight gale
                       In token of his perish'd luxuries,
                       Pour forth his wail!
                       And yield, in very ecstasy of grief,
                       One fond lament above the perishing leaf!

III.


                       He hath not stay'd his flight,
                       But, tracking the lone land bird, he hath bent
                       His insusceptible wing throughout the night,
                       Far as the fancy's sight
                       Might trace the dim lines of the firmament--
                       And, ere the gray dawn from his ocean-bed
                       Rush'd to the visible heaven, hath turn'd his plume
                       To where the flowers, in a sweet tremulous bloom
                       Were wont to yield perfume,--
                       And, as an exile o'er whom hangs the doom,
                       He comes to find them dead.
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IV.


                       And hath he then no wail?--
                       And folding round him not his mourning wing,
                       Will he forbear to sing
                       The melancholy anthem and sad tale?
                       Shall he not say, he, who forever grieves,
                       The story of the leaves?
                       And, with a tone to match the sad complain,
                       And desolate aspect of the world around,
                       Shall he not pour along the waste that strain
                       Of wild and incommunicable sound,
                       Such as in Mexique gulf the seaman hears,
                       Like scream of unknown sea-bird in his ears,
                       Vexing the black profound?

V.


                       He hath a voice for sorrow as delight;
                       For death as life; for night as for the dawn:
                       He sings the ruin which is in his sight,
                       He wails the perish'd beautiful and gone!
                       The plaint he pours, though cold to human sense,
                       And wild and vague, hath yet a magic tone
                       For the dumb nature full of competence,
                       And dear to her alone:
                       Yet, even to human thought it still must wear
                       The semblance of a moan,
                       The wild gush of a heart, that, in its woe,
                       First finds its voice: one asks not words to show
                       The speech of anguish; and, as now we hear,
                       The Fancy readily deems, that while he grieves
                       His home all desolate, his soul all drear,
                       The wanderer wails the leaves.
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VI.


                       "Never--oh! never more,
                       Unburied honors of the pilgrim year,--
                       In glossy and bright garb of innocent green,
                       With crispéd veins from nature's palmy print,
                       And each sweet scent and lovely tinge and tint,
                       Shall ye appear,
                       The roving sense to charm, the eye to cheer
                       The time--sweet time!--that ye and I have seen,
                       Is o'er, forever o'er!
                       Ye feel me not--I press ye--never more;
                       My early joy, your loveliness,--how brief!
                       I may forget ye on some happier shore,
                       But, on your fruitless now, and scentless bier,
                       I leave my tear!"

VII.


                       Away! away!
                       Far in the blaze of the descending day,
                       After that brief lament he spreads his wings--
                       Now that the summer charm that led astray
                       The licensed rover of wild Indian seas,
                       No longer clings
                       With blossoming odor, wooing his wild flight--
                       And, but the ruin of the leafless trees
                       Is there in token of the common blight!
                       Ah! who hath not been hopeless like the breeze?
                       Whose leaves and flowers, secure against the doom,
                       Have ever, through all seasons, kept their bloom,
                       Nor perish'd in a night?


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THE EUTAW MAID.

        The battle of the Eutaw Springs, one of the most brilliant events of the Revolution, is well known in the history of the partisan warfare carried on in the southern department.

I.


                       IT was in Eutaw's covert shade, and on a hill-side stood
                       A young and gentle Santee maid, who watch'd the distant wood,
                       Where he, the loved one of her heart, in fearful battle then,
                       Had gone to flesh his maiden sword with Albion's martial men:
                       Untaught in fight, and all unused to join the strife of blows,--
                       Oh! can there be a doubt with her how the deadly battle goes?

II.


                       And wild the din ascends from far, and high in eddying whirls,
                       Above the forest trees and wide, the sulphur storm-cloud curls,
                       And fast and thick upon her ear the dreadful cries of pain,
                       The groan, the shriek, the hoarse alarm, run piercing to her brain:
                       She may not hope that he is safe when thousands fall around,
                       But looks to see his bloody form outstretch'd upon the ground.

III.


                       There's a cry of conquest on the breeze, the cannon's roar is still,--
                       She dares not look, she does not weep, her trembling heart is chill:
                       The tramplings of the victors come in triumph through the glade,
                       She hears the loud note of the drum, the clattering of the blade:
                       Perchance that very blade is red with the blood of him, her love;--
                       The thought is death, and down she sinks within the woodland grove.

IV.


                       But, a gentle arm entwines her form--a voice is in her ear,
                       Which, even in death's cold grasp itself, 'twould win her back to hear;
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                       Her lips unclose, her eyes unfold once more upon the light,
                       And he is there, that gallant youth, unharm'd, before her sight!
                       Now happy is that Santee maid, and proudly blest is he,
                       And in her face the tear and smile are strangely sweet to see.

ALF-SONG.

I.


                       THE sunbeam darting to the stream,
                       The birth that glows in dying,
                       Love's meeting hour and beauty's gleam,
                       And raptures born when flying;
                       How, if we speed o'er summits fair,
                       Just at each fountain dipping,
                       And pause to rest, in valleys rare,
                       Their single blisses sipping!

II.


                       The cup that flows for us must take
                       Its color from the fountain,
                       In whose embrace the blue skies wake,
                       Still dreaming of the mountain;--
                       We ask no better boon for us
                       While yet the bead is gleaming,
                       To snatch its single blessings thus,
                       Though all the rest be seeming.

III.


                       And still the leaf that skims the lake,
                       Shall satisfy our seeking;
                       And still the bird-note in the brake,
                       Be ample for our speaking;--
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                       And still the dream at morning-tide,
                       When April buds awaken,
                       Shall welcome bring, though from our side
                       The other self be taken.

STANZAS.


                       SILENT with all her vassal stars as ever,
                       Night in the sky,
                       Here, by this dark and lonely Indian river,
                       Scarce moaning by;--
                       Our spirits brood together in communion
                       Too deep for speech;
                       Thought wings its way to thought, and in their union
                       'Tis love they teach.


                       And yet how deep the mock to this condition!
                       That dream of youth,
                       Whose night-stars tremble over waves Elysian,
                       Whose day is truth--
                       Whose hope, with angel wings, to consummation
                       Speeds from its birth,
                       Whose joy, unfettered at its first creation,
                       Bends heaven o'er earth.


                       Hast thou not felt the cruel world's denial,--
                       Art thou not here;
                       Exiled and tortured, ere thy soul had trial
                       Of hope and fear;
                       Unknown and unconsider'd, thy devotion
                       Denied a shrine;--
                       Methinks, these waters speak for thy emotion,
                       And echo mine.


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                       The love that blesses youth is none of ours--
                       No smiles, no tears--
                       A sky that never moved the earth to flowers,
                       In earlier years:--
                       But the deep consciousness, still speaking only,
                       Of the twin woe,
                       That finds fit music in these waters lonely,
                       That moan and go!

HEADS OF THE POETS.

I.--CHAUCER.


                       ---- CHAUCER's healthy Muse
                       Did wisely one sweet instrument to choose,
                       The native reed; which, tutor'd with rare skill,
                       Brought other Muses* down to aid its trill!
                       A cheerful song, that sometimes quaintly mask'd
                       The fancy, as the affections, sweetly task'd;
                       And won from England's proud and foreign court,
                       For native England's tongue, a sweet report--
                       And sympathy--till in due time it grew
                       A permanent voice that proved itself the true,
                       And rescued the brave language of the land
                       From that which help'd to strength the invader's hand!
                       Thus, with great patriot service, making clear
                       The way to other virtues quite as dear
                       In English liberty--which could grow alone,
                       When English speech grew pleasant to be known;
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                       To spell the ears of princes, and to make
                       The peasant worthy for his poet's sake.

        * The Provençal--the Italian.


        † The Norman.



        ‡ The French.


II.--SHAKSPEARE.


                       ---- 'Twere hard to say
                       Upon what instrument did Shakspeare play--
                       Still harder what he did not! He had all
                       The orchestra at service, and could call
                       To use still other implements unknown,
                       Or only valued in his hands alone!
                       The Lyre, whose burning inspiration came
                       Still darting upward, sudden as the flame;
                       The murmuring wind-harp, whose melodious sighs
                       Seem still from hopefulest heart of love to rise,
                       And gladden even while grieving; the wild strain
                       That night-winds wake from reeds that breathe in pain,
                       Though breathing still in music; and that voice
                       Which most he did affect--whose happy choice
                       Made sweet flute-accents for humanity
                       Out of that living heart which cannot die--
                       The catholic, born of love, that still controls,
                       While man is man, the tide in human souls.

III.--THE SAME.


                       ---- His universal song
                       Who sung by Avon, and, with purpose strong,
                       Compell'd a voice from native oracles,
                       That still survive their altars by their spells--
                       Guarding with might each avenue to fame,
                       Where, trophied over all, glows Shakspeare's name!
                       The mighty master-hand in his we trace--
                       If erring often, never commonplace;
                       Forever frank and cheerful, even when woe
                       Commands the tear to speak, the sigh to flow;
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                       Sweet without weakness--without storming, strong,
                       Jest not o'erstrain'd, nor argument too long;
                       Still true to reason, though intent on sport,
                       His wit ne'er drives his wisdom out of court;
                       A brooklet now, a noble stream anon,
                       Careering in the meadows and the sun;
                       A mighty ocean next, deep, far, and wide,
                       Earth, life, and heaven, all imaged in its tide!
                       Oh! when the master bends him to his art,
                       How the mind follows, how vibrates the heart!
                       The mighty grief o'ercomes us as we hear,
                       And the soul hurries, hungering, to the ear;
                       The willing nature, yielding as he sings,
                       Unfolds her secret and bestows her wings,
                       Glad of that best interpreter, whose skill
                       Brings hosts to worship at her sacred hill!

IV.--SPENSER.


                       It was for Spenser, by his quaint device,
                       To spiritualize the passionate, and subdue
                       The wild, coarse temper of the British Muse,
                       By meet diversion from the absolute:
                       To lift the fancy, and, where still the song
                       Proclaim'd a wild humanity, to sway
                       Soothingly soft, and, by fantastic wiles,
                       Persuade the passions to a milder clime!
                       His was the song of chivalry, and wrought
                       For like results upon society;
                       Artful in high degree, with plan obscure,
                       That mystified to lure; and, by its spells,
                       Making the heart forgetful of itself,
                       To follow out and trace its labyrinths,
                       In that forgetfulness made visible!
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                       Such were the uses of his Muse; to say
                       How proper and how exquisite his lay--
                       How quaintly rich his masking--with what art
                       He fashions fairy realms and paints their queen,
                       How purely--with how delicate a skill--
                       It needs not, since his song is with us still!

V.--MILTON.


                       The master of a single instrument,
                       But that the Cathedral Organ, Milton sings
                       With drooping spheres about him, and his eye
                       Fix'd steadily upward, through its mortal cloud
                       Seeing the glories of eternity!
                       The sense of the invisible and the true
                       Still present to his soul; and, in his song,
                       The consciousness of duration through all time,
                       Of work in each condition, and of hopes
                       Ineffable, that well sustain through life,
                       Encouraging through danger and in death,
                       Cheering, as with a promise rich in wings!
                       A godlike voice, that through cathedral towers
                       Still rolls, prolong'd in echoes, whose deep tones
                       Seem born of thunder, that, subdued to music,
                       Soothe when they startle most! A Prophet Bard,
                       With utterance equal to his mission of power,
                       And harmonies, that, not unworthy heaven,
                       Might well lift earth to equal worthiness.

VI.--BURNS.


                       ---- Thither at eve,
                       Where Burns still wanders with his violin song;
                       A melancholy conqueror, in whose sway
                       His own irregular soul grew dark and fell,
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                       Incapable to spell, with resolute will,
                       The capricious genius that, o'er all beside,
                       Held perfect mastery. 'Twas here he went,
                       A man of pride and sorrows, weak yet strong,
                       With still a song discoursing to the heart,
                       The lowly human heart, of all its joys,--
                       Buoyant and cheerful, yet with sadness too,
                       Such sadness as still shows us love through tears.

VII.--SCOTT.


                       ---- Not forgotten or denied,
                       Scott's trumpet lay of chivalry and pride;
                       Homeric in its rush, and, in its strife,
                       With every impulse brimming o'er with life,
                       Teeming with action, and the call to arms;--
                       A robust Dame, his muse, with martial charms,
                       To strive, when need demands it, or to love;--
                       The Eagle quite as often as the Dove.

VIII.--BYRON.


                       ---- For Byron's home and fame,
                       It needed manhood only! Had he known
                       How sorrow should be borne, nor sunk in shame,
                       For that his destiny decreed to moan--
                       His muse had been triumphant over Time
                       As still she is o'er Passion: still sublime--
                       Having subdued her soul's infirmity
                       To aliment; and, with herself o'ercome,
                       O'ercome the barriers of Eternity,
                       And lived through all the ages; with a sway
                       Complete, and unembarrass'd by the doom
                       That makes of Nature's porcelain common clay!
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IX.--A GROUP.


                       ----As one who had been brought
                       By Fairy hands, and as a changeling left
                       In human cradle--the sad substitute
                       For a more smiling infant--Shelley sings
                       Vague minstrelsies that speak a foreign birth,
                       Among erratic tribes. Yet not in vain
                       His moral, and the fancies in his flight
                       Not without profit for another race!
                       He left his spirit with his voice--a voice
                       Solely spiritual--which will long suffice
                       To wing the otherwise earthy of the time,
                       And, with the subtler leaven of the soul,
                       Inform the impetuous passions!
                       With him came,
                       Antagonist, yet still with sympathy,
                       Wordsworth, the Bard of the Contemplative--
                       A voice of purest thought in sweetest music!
                       --These, in themselves unlike, together link'd,
                       Appear in unison in after days,
                       Making progressive still the mental births,
                       That pass successively through rings of time,
                       Each to a several conquest, most unlike
                       That of its sire; yet borrowing of its strength,
                       Where needful, and endowing it with new,
                       To meet the fresh necessities which still
                       Haunt the free progress of each conquering race.


                       --Thus Tennyson and Barrett, Browning and Horne,
                       Blend their opposing faculties, and speak
                       For that fresh nature, which, in daily things,
                       Beholds the immortal, and from common forms


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                       Extorts the Eternal still! So Baily sings
                       In Festus--so, upon an humbler rank,
                       Testing the worth of social policies,
                       As working through a single human will,
                       The Muse of Taylor argues--Artevelde,
                       Being the man who marks a popular growth,
                       And notes the transit of a thought through time,
                       Growing as still it speeds. . . . .
                       Exquisite
                       The ballads of Campbell, and the lays of Moore,
                       Appealing to our tastes, our gentler moods,
                       The play of the affections, or the thoughts
                       That come with national pride; and, as we pause
                       In our own march, delight the sentiment!
                       But nothing they make for progress. They perfect
                       The language, and diversify its powers--
                       Please and beguile, and, for the forms of art,
                       Prove what they are, and may be. But they lift
                       None of our standards; help us not in growth;
                       Compel no prosecution of our search,
                       And leave us, where they found us--with our time!

SONNET TO THE PAST.


                       THY presence hath been grateful--thou hast brought
                       Toil and privation, which have tutor'd me
                       To strength and fit endurance; set me free
                       From vainest fancies--and most kindly wrought
                       On the affections which had else run wild,
                       Untrain'd by meet denial of their thirst.
                       What though I held thee yesterday accurst,--


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                       Believe me not the vain and erring child
                       Still to remember chastening by its pain,
                       More than its uses;--True, that to my home
                       Thou hast brought grief, and often left it gloom;--
                       But that I do not of thy deeds complain,
                       Is proof that they have done no bootless part--
                       Have hurt my house, perchance, but help'd my heart.

STANZAS.


                       AH! not that song, nor any song:
                       Thy music mocks the heart
                       With memories cherish'd still too long,
                       That will not now depart;
                       For me, o'er whom a blighted past
                       Will still its withering trophies cast,
                       There is no heaven in art:--
                       The strain that cannot hope restore,
                       But makes me feel the lost the more.


                       I ask not music's power to show
                       What earth has once possess'd;
                       Nor does it need that all should know
                       My heart has once been bless'd:
                       The tear thy song has made to start,
                       Betrays the secret of my heart,
                       The pang that will not rest;
                       But wakes to instant-strength and sting;
                       When memory spreads her dusky wing.


                       That night-bird, with its chant, still nigh,
                       A sad, mysterious tone,


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                       Recalling, with its boding cry,
                       The ghosts of glories gone;
                       Bends o'er me with each human strain,
                       Restores that hour, with all its pain,
                       Dark hour, I could not shun;
                       Brings back the full soul's trial then,
                       Which left me desolate 'mongst men!


                       They tell me that thy song is sweet,
                       And eyes that look delight,
                       Follow, with silent love, thy feet,
                       And gladden in thy sight;--
                       It needs not proof like this--thy strain,
                       That brings the perish'd back again,
                       The musical, the bright,--
                       May well persuade me of thy grace,
                       In pure white soul and angel face.


                       Enough--thou hast her charm divine,
                       To kindle and to move;
                       On others let thy beauties shine,
                       In others waken love;
                       Perchance--and it is sure my prayer--
                       Life's joys alone, and not its care,
                       Thy future fate may prove;
                       Enough, resembling her, I see
                       Her virtues, not herself, in thee.


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THE WESTERN EMIGRANTS.


                       AN aged man, whose head some seventy years
                       Had snow'd on freely, led the caravan;--
                       His sons and sons' sons, and their families,
                       Tall youths and sunny maidens--a glad group,
                       That glow'd in generous blood and had no care,
                       And little thought of the future--follow'd him;--
                       Some perch'd on gallant steeds, others, more slow,
                       The infants and the matrons of the flock,
                       In coach and jersey,--but all moving on
                       To the new land of promise, full of dreams
                       Of western riches, Mississippi-mad!
                       Then came the hands, some forty-five or more,
                       Their moderate wealth united--some in carts
                       Laden with mattresses;--on ponies some;
                       Others, more sturdy, following close afoot,
                       Chattering like jays, and keeping, as they went,
                       Good time to Juba's creaking violin.


                       I met and spoke them. The old patriarch,
                       The grandsire of that goodly family,
                       Told me his story, and a few brief words
                       Unfolded that of thousands. Discontent,
                       With a vague yearning for a better clime,
                       And richer fields than thine, old Carolina,
                       Led him to roam. Yet did he not complain
                       Of thee, dear mother--mother still to me,
                       Though now, like him, a wanderer from thy homes.
                       Thou hadst not chidden him, nor trampled down
                       His young ambition;--hadst not school'd his pride
                       By cold indifference; hadst not taught his heart


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                       To doubt of its own hope, as of thy love,
                       Making self-exile duty. He knew thee not,
                       As I, by graves and sorrows. Thy bright sun
                       Had always yielded flowers and fruits to him,
                       And thy indulgence and continued smiles
                       Had made his pittance plenty--made his state
                       A proud one in the honors which thou gav'st,
                       Almost in's own despite. And yet he flies thee
                       For a wild country, where the unplough'd fields
                       Lie stagnant in their waste fertility,
                       And long for labor. His are sparkling dreams,
                       As fond as those of boyhood. Golden stores
                       They promise him in Mississippian vales,
                       Outshining all the past, compensating--
                       So thinks he idly--for the home he leaves,
                       The grave he should have chosen, and the walks,
                       And well-known fitness of his ancient woods.
                       Self-exiled, in his age he hath gone forth
                       To the abodes of strangers,--seeking wealth--
                       Not wealth, but money! Heavens! what wealth we give,
                       Daily, for money! What affections sweet--
                       What dear abodes--what blessing, happy joys--
                       What hopes, what hearts, what affluence, what ties,
                       In a mad barter where we lose our all,
                       For that which an old trunk, a few feet square,
                       May compass like our coffin! That old man
                       Can take no root again! He hath snapp'd off
                       The ancient tendrils, and in foreign clay
                       His branches will all wither. Yet he goes,
                       Falsely persuaded that a bloated purse
                       Is an affection--is a life--a lease,
                       Renewing life, with all its thousand ties
                       Of exquisite endearment--flowery twines,
                       That, like the purple parasites of March,


Page 165


                       Shall wrap his aged trunk, and beautify
                       Even while they shelter. I could weep for him,
                       Thus banish'd by that madness of the mind,
                       But that mine own fate, not like his self-chosen,
                       Fills me with bitterer thoughts than of rebuke;--
                       He does not suffer from the lack of home,
                       And all the pity that I waste on him
                       Comes of my own privation. Let him go.


                       There is an exile which no laws provide for,
                       No crimes compel, no hate pursues;--not written
                       In any of the records! Not where one goes
                       To dwell in other regions--from his home
                       Removed, by taste, or policy, or lust,
                       Or the base cares of the mere creature need,
                       Or pride's impatience. Simple change of place
                       Is seldom exile, as it hath been call'd,
                       But idly. There's a truer banishment
                       To which such faith were gentle. 'Tis to be
                       An exile on the spot where you were born;--
                       A stranger on the hearth which saw your youth,--
                       Banish'd from hearts to which your heart is turn'd;--
                       Unbless'd by those, from whose o'erwatchful love
                       Your heart would drink all blessings:--'Tis to be
                       In your own land--the native land whose soil
                       First gave you birth; whose air still nourishes,--
                       If that may nourish which denies all care
                       And every sympathy,--and whose breast sustains,--
                       A stranger--hopeless of the faded hours,
                       And reckless of the future;--a lone tree
                       To which no tendril clings--whose desolate boughs
                       Are scathed by angry winters, and bereft
                       Of the green leaves that cherish and adorn.


Page 166

FIRST PURPOSELESS STRIVINGS OF THE IMAGINATION.


                       A SICKNESS at the heart that ever pines
                       For solitude, and baffled in the prayer,
                       Swells sometimes to a passion like despair!
                       Jealous of eyes--suspecting all designs,
                       And trembling for a secret which the heart
                       Grasps not itself;--still searching, as a life
                       The soothing of another, yet at strife
                       With him who first assumes the soother's part,
                       Nor trusting till too late!--A resolute will
                       To pine, and be alone, and desolate still;
                       By day in wood and wild, with vexing thought,
                       Removed from human converse; and by night
                       Striving in dreams, and, at the morning's light,
                       Looking, as with an angel we had fought.

STANZAS.

I.


                       THE love that won thee did not speak,
                       The grief that mourns thee has no tear;
                       To paint thy virtues both were weak,
                       To lose them neither well can bear.
                       In boyhood's hours, 'mid childhood's glee,
                       And through the long succeeding years
                       The same,--thy presence were to me
                       What weeping memory still endears.
Page 167

II.


                       Let those with mood more calm than mine,
                       Describe thy virtues as they will;
                       It is enough that they were thine,
                       I've lost them yet I love them still:
                       I love them still, though now no more
                       Their presence blesses mortal eye;
                       They dwell within my bosom's core,
                       And never sleep and cannot die!

III.


                       When all of earth that well could fade,
                       And beauty's sweetest blandishment,
                       The eye might deem, that then survey'd,
                       Immortal as omnipotent;--
                       Were crowded into earth,--there stood,
                       From all that weeping train apart,
                       One victim of a hopeless mood,
                       One keeper of a maddening heart.

IV.


                       To him the boon of memory came,
                       The young, the lovely, to restore
                       Warm, tender, as his bosom's flame,
                       Immortal as the love it bore!
                       But vain, though sweet, the boon it brings,
                       Unless it bids the buried live;
                       It gives him gleams of heavenly things,
                       But weeps o'er that it cannot give!


Page 168

THE DECAY OF A PEOPLE.


                       THIS the true sign of ruin to a race--
                       It undertakes no march, and, day by day
                       Drowses in camp, or, with the laggard's pace,
                       Walks sentry o'er possessions that decay;
                       Destined, with sensible waste, to fleet away;--
                       For the first secret of continued power
                       Is the continued conquest;--all our sway
                       Hath surety in the uses of the hour;
                       If that we waste, in vain wall'd town and lofty tower!

THE TEXAN HUNTER.

I.


                       OH! wilt thou be, dear maiden,
                       The Texan hunter's bride,
                       And tend his forest bower
                       By Colorado's side;
                       Thy childhood's home forgetting,
                       That newer home to prize,
                       Near where the sun is setting,
                       But where our sun must rise?

II.


                       I bring no wealth to woo thee,
                       But, in my grasp, I bear
                       The weapon, at whose sudden speech
                       The forest nations fear;
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                       The wild Camanché flies the track
                       That I have blazed for thee,
                       And when I wind this yellow horn
                       The cougar seeks his tree.

III.


                       Of all the wild steeds of the West,
                       No one is better graced
                       Than this I bring to bear thy form
                       Across the prairie waste;
                       As little feels the infant,
                       Within his cradled height,
                       The waving of the slender bough,
                       As thou his easy flight.

IV.


                       And gay with richest flowers,
                       And green with leafy shade,
                       Shall be the forest bowers
                       Which Love for thee has made:
                       No high and haughty palace,
                       But, smiling through the green
                       Of waving, sea-like valleys,
                       Our snow-white cot is seen.

V.


                       Sweet groves and soft savannahs,
                       A clime of calm, it woos
                       With blossoms of the rainbow born,
                       And fruitage of its hues;
                       Broad seas asleep in meadows,
                       With ranks of cane that rise
                       Like plumed and painted warriors,
                       To sink before our eyes.--
Page 170

VI.


                       But if within thy bosom
                       There burns a nobler life,
                       As dames in knightly days could share
                       The rapture of the strife;
                       Then, by my steed and rifle,
                       Let Mexic towers beware,
                       The eye that cheers my cabin now
                       Shall light my spirit there.

SONNETS.

I. THE APPROACH OF WINTER.


                       COMES winter with an aspect dark to me,
                       Harried with storms so long? Are his brows stern?
                       Speaks he a language of asperity,
                       Unfit for him to speak or me to learn?
                       And do I shrink from the impending stroke
                       That follows his keen chiding? Would I fly
                       The terror of his presence, and that yoke
                       Borne with so long and so reluctantly?
                       No! from its prison-house of care and pain
                       My spirit dares defy him. Well inured
                       To trial,--I have borne it--not in vain,
                       Since conquer'd is the destiny endured--
                       Endured with no base spirit! I have grown
                       Familiar with the future in the known.

II.


                       Yet bitter were the lessons of that past,
                       When life was one long winter! Childhood knew
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                       Nor blossom nor delight. No sunshine cast
                       The glory of green leaves about mine eye;
                       No zephyr, laden with sweet perfumes, blew
                       For me its Eastern tribute from a sky
                       Looking down love upon me; and my mood
                       Yearn'd for its kindred--for the humblest tie
                       To human hopes and aspirations true!
                       Sickness, and suffering, and solitude
                       Couch'd o'er my cradle: cheerless was the glance
                       That watch'd my slumbers in those feeble hours.
                       When pity, with her tears, her only powers,
                       Might have brought hope, if not deliverance.

III. CHILDHOOD.


                       That season which all other men regret,
                       And strive, with boyish longing, to recall,
                       Which love permits not memory to forget,
                       And fancy still restores in dreams of all
                       That boyhood worshipp'd, or believed, or knew,--
                       Brings no sweet images to me--was true,
                       Only in cold and cloud, in lonely days
                       And gloomy fancies--in defrauded claims,
                       Defeated hopes, denied, denying aims;--
                       Cheer'd by no promise--lighted by no rays,
                       Warm'd by no smile--no mother's smile,--that smile,
                       Of all, best suited sorrow to beguile,
                       And strengthen hope, and, by unmark'd degrees,
                       Encourage to their birth high purposes.

IV. YOUTH.


                       Why should I fear the winter now, when free
                       To meet and mingle in the strifes of man;
                       The danger to defy which now I see,
                       The oppressor to o'erthrow whom now I can!
Page 172


                       Childhood! the season of my weaknesses,
                       Is gone!--the muscle in my arm is strong;
                       No longer is there trembling in my knees,
                       And my soul kindles at the look of wrong,
                       And burns in free defiance!--never more
                       Let me recall the hour when I was weak,
                       To shrink, to seek for refuge, to implore;
                       When I was scorn'd or trampled, but to speak,
                       When anger, rising high, though crouching low,
                       Should, like the tiger, spring upon his foe.

V. STRUGGLE.


                       Yet, in recalling these vex'd memories,
                       Mine is no thought of vengeance! If I speak
                       Of childhood, as a time that found me weak,
                       I utter no complaint of injuries;
                       These tried, but did not crush me; and they made
                       My spirit rise to a superior mood,--
                       Taught me endurance, and meet hardihood,
                       And all life's better energies array'd
                       For that long conflict which must end in death,
                       Or victory!--and victory shall yet be mine!
                       They cannot keep me from my right--the spoil
                       Which is the guerdon of superior toil--
                       Devotion that, defying hostile breath,
                       Ceased not to "watch and pray," though stars refused to shine!

VI. MANHOOD.


                       Manhood at last!--and, with its consciousness,
                       Are strength and freedom; freedom to pursue
                       The purposes of hope--the godlike bliss,
                       Born in the struggle for the great and true!
                       And every energy that should be mine,
Page 173


                       This day, I dedicate to its object,--Life!
                       So help me Heaven, that never I resign
                       The duty which devotes me to the strife;--
                       The enduring conflict which demands my strength,
                       Whether of soul or body, to the last;
                       The tribute of my years, through all their length,--
                       The future's compensation to the past!--
                       Boy's pleasures are for boyhood--its best cares
                       Befit us not in our performing years.

THE SHADE-TREES.


                       GOD bless the hand that planted these old trees,
                       Here, by the wayside. While the August sun
                       Sends down his brazen arrows on the plain,
                       They give us shelter. Panting in their shade
                       We gaze upon the path o'er which we came,
                       And, in the green leaves overhead, rejoice!
                       Far as the eye may reach, the sands spread out,
                       A granulated blaze, pain the dim sense,
                       And vex the slumberous spirit with their glare.
                       Like some o'erpolish'd mirror, they give back
                       The sun's intenser fires. The green snake writhes
                       To run along the track--the lizard creeps,
                       Carefully tender, o'er the wither'd leaves,
                       And shuns the wayside, which, in early spring,
                       He travell'd only;--while, on the moist track,
                       Where ran a small brook out, a shining group
                       Of butterflies fold up their wearied wings,
                       Mottled with gold and purple, and cling close


Page 174


                       To the dank surface, drawing the coolness thence
                       Which the gray sands deny. A thousand forms,--
                       Insect and fly, and the capricious bird,
                       Erewhile that sang so gayly in the spring
                       To his just wedded partner,--forms of life,
                       And most irregular impulse,--all seem press'd,
                       As by the approach of death; and in the shade,
                       Hiding in leafy coverts and dense groves,
                       Where pines make natural temples for fond hearts,
                       And hopeless mourners,--seem in dread to wait
                       Some shock of nature. Summer reigns supreme,
                       With power like that of death; and here, beneath
                       This most refreshing shelter of old trees,
                       I hear a murmuring voice from out the ground,
                       Where work her agents; like the busy hum
                       From out the shops of labor, or, from far,
                       The excited beating of an army's pulse,
                       Mix'd in some solemn service.
                       'Twas a thought
                       Of good, becoming ancient patriarchs,
                       Of him who first, in the denying earth,
                       Planted these oaks. Heaven, for the kindly deed,
                       Look on his errors kindly! He hath had
                       A most benevolent thought to serve his kind,
                       And felt, in truth, the principle of love
                       For the wide, various family of man,
                       Which is the true religion. Happy, for mankind,
                       Were such the better toil of those who make
                       The sacred text a theme for bitterness,
                       Who clamor more than pray, vexing the heart
                       With disputation. Better far, methinks,
                       If seated by the wayside, they beheld
                       The sorrows of its pilgrims; raised the shade
                       To shelter in the noonday; show'd the way


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                       To the secluded fountain; and brought forth
                       The bread, and bless'd it to the stranger's want,
                       Who might, even then, be on his way to heaven!--
                       How fortunate for him who succor'd then!

THE SACRIFICE UPON OUR ALTARS.


                       OUR very passions leave us--our best tastes
                       Subside, as do our pleasures, and depart;
                       The moss and ivy grow about the heart,
                       And a cold apathy and dulness wastes
                       Our virgin fancies. We grow old apace,
                       While every flower that boyhood loved keeps young,
                       As if in bitter mockery of our pride!
                       And this it is to run ambition's race,
                       To lose the pulse of hope, youth's precious tide,
                       And through strange regions, and with unknown tongue,
                       As vain as Edward Irving's, wander wide,
                       Seeking our solemn phantoms,--things of air,
                       Thin, unsubstantial, which our hearts still grace
                       With homage, and our eyes still fancy bright and fair.

OH! WELCOME YE THE STRANGER.


                       OH! welcome ye the stranger,
                       And think, if e'er you rove,
                       How sweet in foreign lands must be
                       The voice that proffers love!
                       How sweet when sad delaying,
                       Where Fate compels to roam,


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                       If stranger lips should welcome give
                       And sweetly sing of home.


                       Oh! welcome ye the stranger,
                       For still, whate'er his gain,
                       How much, in dear ones lost to sight,
                       Must be his spirit's pain!
                       His smiles but ill betoken
                       The heart within his breast,
                       That silent beats with hopes deferr'd
                       And fears that will not rest.


                       Oh! welcome ye the stranger,
                       To whom your hearth shall bring
                       The image of his own, and show
                       Each dear one in the ring;
                       And as your song ascending
                       Wakes memories sweet of yore,
                       He'll think of her he left behind,
                       Whose song hath bless'd before.

CHILDRENS' EVENING GAMBOLS.

I.


                       HEAR you not the merry sound?
                       Gather to the fairy round,
                       'Tis the hour, 'tis the hour,
                       When the gentle signs abound,--
                       When the bud begins to flower,
                       When the moon, with placid power,
                       Soothes and lights the happy ground.
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II.


                       Leap you not to that array,
                       Purest hearts in pleasant play?--
                       Would you lose, would you lose,
                       Aught of such a holiday,--
                       While the songs of such a muse,
                       Lead the chain'd soul where they choose,
                       Far, in boyhood's world, away?

III.


                       Sweet to watch that pleasant game,
                       Chaste but lovely, free from shame;
                       Childhood sweet, childhood sweet,--
                       Eyes of fire you would not tame;--
                       On the floor the rapid beat
                       Of the music-mocking feet,
                       The free laugh and wild acclaim!

IV.


                       Oh! this future on the floor,
                       How it doth the past restore!--
                       In our eye, in our eye,
                       Stands the maid we loved of yore,--
                       When, like him, the urchin nigh,
                       First we learn'd to love and sigh,
                       As we love and sigh no more.

THE MINIATURE.


                       I'VE thought upon it long, and to mine eyes,
                       Howe'er my feet have wander'd, it hath been
                       The sweet star that hath guided through the night,
                       And brought me home again. I've worshipp'd it,


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                       Even as the Hindoo maiden her gay boat
                       Of flowers, her heart's first fond experiment,
                       Sent down the Ganges. I regard it now--
                       Though all my flowers have wither'd, and my boat
                       Been baffled nigh to shipwreck--having loss
                       Of what the waters give not forth again--
                       With a beseeming reverence. And 'tis all,
                       So valued, but an image--one that needs
                       No color from the artist's brush, to raise
                       In features sensible. They have been touch'd
                       In more intense embodyings. Pearl and gold
                       Are but slight gear, its riches to secure,
                       And honor by their setting. Wouldst thou see?--
                       It is the picture of a delicate love,
                       Fair lady, and I've set it in my heart--
                       There, couldst thou look, thy own unwitting lips
                       Would murmur, with misgivings, to thy self,
                       "Where sat I to this painter?"

BEAUTY'S SPRING-TIME.

I.


                       VAINLY thou tend'st thy bower,
                       Vainly thou deck'st the vine,
                       And joy'st in the richest flower
                       That doth upon Ashley shine;
                       Thou nigh, though spring advances,
                       Who seeks for her sunny train?
                       We do but glow in thy glances,
                       And the garden blossoms in vain.
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II.


                       Spring is in thee, bright creature,
                       Thou bringer of songster and rose;
                       In thine is the blossoming feature,
                       Whence the life that is loveliness flows.
                       A glimpse of the bow descending,
                       The purple light on the sea,
                       A wing with the sunset blending,--
                       Oh! these have spoken for thee.

III.


                       And thus, when the gray-footed morning
                       First beats up the fleecy plain;
                       Ere the stars have had their warning,
                       And close their sad eyes in pain;
                       My heart grows glad in the promise
                       Of a holier reign to be,--
                       And, seeking the soul hid from us,
                       I find its flower in thee!

THE UNQUIET SPIRIT.


                       MIDNIGHT!--and I am watching with the stars!
                       Can ye not let me slumber for a while,
                       Ye roving thoughts--and thou, unquiet mood,
                       Still active, wandering through infinity,
                       All times and nations, changes, destinies,
                       With sleepless soul, and discontented gaze,
                       Finding no place of rest? Can ye not spare,
                       To the o'erwearied votary, one pause
                       From the sad spirit's vigil? Must he still


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                       Climb the precipitous height, and, with no guide
                       Save the sad watchers brooding in the heavens,
                       And the stern instinct, into which resolved,
                       Ye do compel the labor, hurry him on,
                       Weary, and with no recompense, to gain
                       The solitary chaplet of sad flowers,
                       But little valued, which a stranger hand,--
                       When I am dead, and those who knew me once
                       Miss me no longer from the crowded way,--
                       Will place, perchance, upon my humble grave?


                       This is the trophy, and for this I toil!--
                       Yet am I proud among my fellow-men,
                       And strive with him whose aim is greatly bent
                       For the sole column;--and with marvellous dread
                       Shrink from each middle perch of eminence.
                       And, in my chamber, when the world is still,
                       And those who were most ready in the strife,
                       Have sunk to sweet repose,--wakeful, I ask,
                       Doth my ambition, then, but strive for this
                       Poor honor,--which no present hand bestows,
                       And the far future, like some tardy steed,
                       Brings, when too late, and only brings in vain?
                       And is it such poor victory which now
                       Keeps me from slumber--makes the violent pulse,
                       And the full veins upon my forehead, swell
                       With aimless tumult, while the unsettled heart,
                       Now bounding with keen hope, desponding now,
                       Yearns for some other state, some wider range
                       For action, and some truer sympathy?
                       Is it for this, I ask, ye gentler sprites
                       Which tend upon the discontented soul,
                       That the still night, with its sad, twiring stars,
                       Still rises on my gaze, while all besides


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                       Are, in the dwellings of sweet dreams, at rest;
                       And even the bird that, pendent from my roof,
                       Murmured, erewhile, at intervals, his song
                       In wandering catches, wild, and more than sweet,
                       Hath sought his cover in the mazy wood?


                       My feeling and my reason are not one,
                       They do rebuke each other. With the one
                       The world is full of glowing images,
                       And life abounds in honors, and strong hearts
                       Bend to the lofty sway, and gentle eyes
                       Look forth a pure encouragement, more dear,
                       And it may be, though not so thought by men,
                       More full of worth and value than the rest.
                       'Tis thus that fancy, ever won with dreams,
                       Portrays its triumphs--until wisdom comes,
                       And with stern accents and unbending brow,
                       Experience at her side, proclaims them all
                       Shallow and profitless--things far beneath
                       The sober and strong estimate of thought.


                       I fear me she is true. I have not lived
                       Untaught by my own being, and the toil,
                       The battle for existence. Yet, I feel
                       There is a victory beyond reason's scope,
                       And out of her domain. The spirit feels
                       Its urgent nature, which, though dash'd with care,
                       Knows still a medicine that "physics pain"--
                       A golden draught, more potent than of old
                       The alchemist through years of toil pursued,
                       Wearing out life in idle search of that
                       Which should preserve it. If I must look forth,
                       Watching yon sad but lustrous galaxy,
                       Counting its many and divided lights,


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                       Dispatching thought on missions unto them,
                       And lingering for response,--I shall not fear,
                       Thus, in the eye of heaven, to urge my claim
                       To those same thick-sown fields of glorious life,
                       My heritage--on which my spirit turns
                       With a most natural instinct, which approves
                       Its right, and justifies its high demand--
                       Our future dwelling-place, to which my soul,
                       Like one unjustly disinherited,
                       Still looks, though vain, and cannot cease to look.

SONNET.--REPROACH AND CONSOLATION.


                       WELL said the master,--"The worst grief of all,
                       Is to remember, in our hours of woe,
                       How blest we have been!"* It were rightly so,
                       If, like Adam's memory of his wretched fall,
                       To the keen thought of pleasures ever gone,
                       There be the sting of self-reproach, to say,
                       "The seed is of thy planting--go thy way,
                       And let the curse be on thy head alone!"
                       This is the bitterer truth,--but it is one,
                       In bitterness thrice blessed, if it brings
                       Repentance, that, with healing on its wings,
                       Will cheer the future, and the past atone:
                       It were a grace to pray for, night and day,
                       In ashes,--while the world is out at play.

                      * "Nessun maggior dolore,
                       Che ricordarsi del tempo felice,
                       Nella miseria."


Page 183

BALLAD.

I.


                       HARK! the trumpet's note through all our valleys;--
                       Red, the plains are weeping with the strife;
                       The song and dance have fled our peaceful alleys,
                       And the young warrior leaves the drooping wife;
                       But will she cling to homes by love forsaken?--
                       Not long she droops when from her side he goes;
                       In boyhood's guise, the weapon she hath taken,
                       And, all unknown, she fights against his foes!--
                       She hears the cry, "To arms!"
                       No fear her soul alarms,
                       As still, with lance in rest, she seeks the thick array;
                       Beside him, as he flies
                       From foe to foe, she plies
                       The eager steel, and shares the glory of the fray!

II.


                       Hark! the trumpet's note from fight recalling,
                       Night is in the deep with solemn eye;
                       Sad the starlight on the red plain falling,
                       Shows the wounded soldier where to die!
                       In the mournful bivouac beside him
                       She hath crouch'd in silence,--not to sleep;
                       But, above the slumbers not denied him,
                       With fond thought, a patient watch to keep!
                       Is it her name she hears,
                       That, borne to eager ears,
                       Glides from his sleeping lips her soul to bless?--
                       Ah! with what idle part
                       Would she subdue her heart!
                       Love triumphs still, and he awakes in her caress.


Page 184

SUMMER WEST WIND.

I.


                       FROM what dear island in the Indian seas
                       Com'st thou, sweet spicy breeze;--
                       The freshness of the morning on thy wing,
                       And all the bloom of spring?--
                       Ah! ere thy flight was taken,
                       The rose and shrub were shaken;
                       Thou stol'st to many a bower of bloom and bliss,
                       Giving and taking many a balmy kiss!
                       Ah! happy, that in flying, thou not leavest
                       Aught that thou need'st or grievest;
                       Thy spirit knows not fetters, though subdued,
                       For a long time, thy mood;--
                       Yet, let the west implore thee,
                       The sweet south smile before thee,
                       The murmur of their fountains meet thine ear,
                       And thou, anon, art there!
                       The lone one will forget her loneliness
                       As thou uplift'st her tress,
                       Kissing, with none to check,
                       The whitest neck,--
                       She blushing, with fond fancies, that repine
                       For other lips than thine,--
                       Ah! why not mine!

II.


                       Methinks from thy sweet breath and tender motion,
                       Thy last flight was from caves in southern ocean,
                       Spar-gemm'd and lustrous;--there, thy form has crept
                       To the pale Nereid as she sighing, slept!
                       Ah, wanton!--thou hast toy'd with tangled hair,
Page 185


                       And bent o'er beauties rare;
                       Seal'd up bright eyes with kisses, that anon,
                       When sleep and thou wert gone,
                       Wept at the hapless waking which destroy'd
                       The sweetest world of void!--
                       Thou might'st have linger'd in thy watch secure,--
                       Thy kisses, though they waken'd her, were pure;
                       Nay, on her lips thou might'st impress the seal
                       Her cheeks still blush to feel;
                       Her sea-shell, meanwhile, suiting with sweet notes,
                       Till slowly, through its purple winding, floats
                       Love's fondest plaint,--
                       The saddest dear'st effusion of her saint;
                       Touch'd to the soul with such a tenderness,
                       She may no more express,--
                       Her only grief, her joy in such excess,
                       No words may well declare, no music paint!

III.


                       Canst thou desert her, vain one!--wilt thou fly,
                       With sunset, when the purple billow glows,
                       As with new passion 'neath the western sky?--
                       Thy flight hath borne with it her dear repose;--
                       That music, as it goes,
                       Robs her of life with love;--unless it be
                       She still can fly with thee;--
                       Borne far with dying day,
                       A faint but fairy lay,--
                       That moves her,--following through the fields of air,--
                       Thee seeking, false one, seeking everywhere!

IV.


                       Even in his fiercest hour
                       Thou mock'st the great sun's power,
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                       Thy broad wing o'er the quivering plain below,
                       Shield'st fondly from his glow,
                       And cherishest and cheer'st the drooping flower.
                       Lo! smiling, the green trees that forward bend
                       With thy fast flight to blend;
                       Lo! the cool'd waves that dimpling ocean's isles,
                       Implore thee with a thousand frantic wiles,
                       Flinging their shells along the yellow beach,
                       That thou mayst teach,
                       With lingering whisper, as thou dartest by,
                       To every twisted core, its melody.

V.


                       Swart labor greets thee from his fields with prayer,
                       And bows with dripping hair,
                       Vest open wide and blue eye that declares
                       A gladness born of cares.--
                       Mother of meekness, child of happy birth,
                       Sprung from the sky, yet born alone for earth,--
                       Glows his broad bosom as he sees thy wing,
                       Slow spreading, and with silence hovering,
                       A purple cloud descending,
                       Above his green fields bending,
                       And blessing!--Thou hast cheer'd him with thy breath,
                       When all was still as death;
                       Leaves quivering in the close and stifling air;
                       A languor, like despair,
                       Stretch'd o'er the earth, and through the coppery sky
                       That burns the upholding eye;--
                       Streams fled from ancient channels, and the blade
                       Blasted as soon as made--
                       And the sad drooping of all things that sigh,
                       With the dread fear to die!
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VI.


                       Ah! still above our green plains brood, and bring
                       Life to their languishing!
                       Sweet breath and dear protection! go not soon,
                       Though, with the rising moon,
                       The mermaid woos thee to her silvery isle,
                       And songs from green-hair'd ocean-maids beguile,
                       No longer dumb with rapture, waiting thee.
                       We may not set thee free,--
                       Let prayer secure thee for a season, till
                       Prayer true as ours gives freedom to thy will!
                       Then linger not too long, nor all forget
                       How fondly, when we met,
                       Our arms were spread to greet thee,--and each breast,
                       Wide, opening for its guest.
                       Come to us waking--sleeping; do not fear
                       To waken, with thy music in each ear,
                       Music of flowers and of the gentle waves
                       That break in moonlight caves,--
                       Music of youth and hope, which, if it know
                       A touch of tears or woe,
                       Is yet a woe of tenderness, that brings
                       Gleams still of sweetest things;--
                       And, if it tell of night,
                       Tells of it only when its stars are bright,
                       And in the silvery, soft and tremulous air,
                       The moon and thou art both commercing there.


Page 188

THE KINGS IN SHEOL.

PARAPHRASE.--ISAIAH XIV.


                       HARK! the nations take a song
                       Of deliverance from the strong;--
                       Still they cry on every hand,
                       There is freedom for the land;
                       For the oppressor's overthrown,
                       And the golden city's down!--
                       He who smote the world in wrath
                       Now lies silent in his path;
                       None so feeble but may stride
                       O'er the brow they deified:--
                       God, in vengeance, hath arisen;
                       He hath broke the captive's prison;
                       In his smile a freedom bringing,
                       Which hath set the whole world singing;
                       All exulting o'er the ruin
                       Which declares the dread undoing
                       Of the awful power that made
                       Earth grow barren in its shade!
                       The pines, that trembled at his tread,--
                       The cedars, doom'd to bow the head
                       Beneath his lordly axe, that won
                       The grayest brows of Lebanon,--
                       Now shout triumphant in the blow
                       That shields them hence from overthrow.
                       How stands above his open grave,
                       With words of scorn, his meanest slave!


Page 189


                       To his gloomy ghost they cry,
                       As it shrouds it from the sky,--
                       Sinking, under doom of woe,
                       To the awful realm below.


                       Thou, that lately stood elate,
                       Hence! to meet a loathlier state,--
                       Hell, to hail thee, stirs her dead!--
                       Rising, as they hear thy tread,
                       Lo! the great ones of the earth
                       Hail thee with a mocking mirth;
                       From their thrones of ancient might,
                       Rise, to welcome thee to--Night.
                       Thou, with common voice, they speak,
                       Art become like us, and weak;--
                       Pomp and music could not save,
                       All thy pride is in the grave;
                       'Neath thee winds the worm,--above,
                       Crawls and clings, with loathsome love!
                       How art thou fallen! that, like the star,
                       The son of morning, shone afar,
                       Flung, midst the glory of thy light,
                       In darkness from thy mountain height;
                       Even at the moment when thy aim
                       Had been the cope of heaven to claim,--
                       Above the stars of God to rise,
                       And sway the assembly of the skies!
                       Lo! where thou sink'st, with mortal dread,
                       While Sheol closes o'er thy head;--
                       Grasping her sides with feeble will,
                       Yet sinking downward, downward still;
                       How--could they see thee from above,--
                       The-eyes that never watch'd in love,--


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                       How would they cry--can this be he
                       That made the crowded nations flee,
                       Did, in his wrath, the kingdoms shake,
                       And make earth's far foundations quake!

MONNA.

I.


                       THERE was an eye, a steadfast eye,
                       That once I loved,--I love it now;--
                       And still it gazes on my brow,
                       Unchanged through all,--unchangingly.

II.


                       It could not change, though it has gone;--
                       For 'twas a thing of soul;--and so
                       It did not with the mortal go
                       To that one chamber, still and lone.

III.


                       It had a touch, a winning touch,
                       Of twilight sadness in its glance;
                       And look'd, at times, as in a trace,
                       Till I grew sad, I loved so much.

IV.


                       For life is selfish, and the tear
                       In one we love is like a gloom;
                       And still I wept the stubborn doom
                       That made a thing of grief so dear.
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V.


                       Through sunny hours and cloudy hours,
                       And hours that had nor sun nor cloud,
                       That eye was wrapt, as in a shroud,
                       Such shroud as autumn flings o'er flowers.

VI.


                       It had a language dear to me,
                       Though strange to all the world beside;
                       And many a grief I strove to chide
                       Grew sweet to mine idolatry.

VII.


                       I could not stay the grief, nor chase
                       The cloud that gloom'd the earnest eye;
                       But gave,--'twas all,--my sympathy,
                       And woe was written on my face.

VIII.


                       'Twas on my face, as in my heart;
                       And when the Lady Monna died,
                       Whom still I loved,--I never sigh'd,
                       But tearless saw the lights depart.

IX.


                       They bore her coldly to the tomb;
                       They took me to my home away;
                       Nor knew that from that vacant day,
                       My home was with her in the gloom.

X.


                       They little knew how still we went,
                       Together, in the midnight shade,
                       Communing, with wet eyes, that made
                       Our very passions innocent.
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XI.


                       Born of the cloud, her mournful eye
                       Was on me still, as shines the star,
                       That, drooping from its heights afar,
                       Broods ever on eternity.

XII.


                       It led me aye through folds of shade,
                       By day and darkness still the same,
                       And, heedless of all mortal blame,
                       I follow'd meekly where it bade.

XIII.


                       They watch'd my steps, and scann'd my face,
                       And vex'd my heart till I grew stern;--
                       For curious eyes have yet to learn
                       How sorrow dreads each finger trace.

XIV.


                       Mine was too deep a love to be
                       The common theme for idle tongue,
                       And when they spoke of her, they wrung
                       My spirit into agony.

XV.


                       I live a lone and settled woe;--
                       I care not if the day be fair
                       Or foul,--I would that I were near
                       The maid they buried long ago.


Page 193

UR-LIGHT.


                       ERE, at first, the seals were broken,
                       And the motive word had spoken,
                       Earth was but an idiot wonder,
                       Born in cloud and clad in thunder;
                       Blindly striving, vainly roaring,
                       Wildly plunging, feebly soaring,
                       Whirling with a fretful motion
                       Like a ship in peevish ocean;--
                       Graceless all, in grove and fountain,
                       Shapeless all, in vale and mountain;--
                       Hopeless, heartless, songless, sightless,
                       Cold and dismal, soulless, sprightless;--
                       Little dreaming then of glory,
                       Which should make so sweet a story
                       Music-weaving, music-winning,
                       Closing sweet for sweet beginning;
                       Borne across the tract of ages,
                       Still in sweet successive stages,--
                       In their daily march untying,
                       Sounds forever thence undying;--
                       In their daily music, freeing,
                       Souls, forever thence in being;--
                       Beauty still, for song revealing,
                       Love, that finds for beauty, feeling,--
                       Hope that knows what truth shall follow,--
                       Truth that hope alone shall hallow!
                       But a word must first be spoken,
                       Ere the heavy seals are broken;
                       And bright clouds of spirits, chosen,--
                       Watchful, never once reposing,


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                       Hang amid the void, upgazing,
                       Where the great world's soul is blazing.
                       Hark! a voice is heard, as calling,
                       And a star is seen, as falling,
                       Star of soul, whose spell symphonious,
                       Makes stars, systems, suns, harmonious!
                       Oh! that blessed sound, that thrilling
                       Earth and matter, make them willing!
                       Hark! the angels join, rejoicing
                       As they hear that highest voicing;
                       Stills the ocean, wildly rushing,
                       As their melody is gushing;--
                       Lo! the volcan stays his thunder,
                       And his red eyes ope in wonder!--
                       Earth, no longer blind, rejoices,
                       Clapping hands and lifting voices;
                       While the eastern sky is streaking,--
                       Hues of white, like lightning breaking,
                       Lighten ocean up with splendor,
                       Make the rugged mountains tender,
                       As still crowding into cluster,
                       They implore the growing lustre.
                       Tree and flow'ret, vale and mountain,
                       Plain and forest, lake and fountain,
                       Grove and prairie, rock and river,
                       Give their glories to the giver;--
                       Win their voices with their seeing,
                       Find, in light, their fount of being;
                       And at eve, its smile imploring,
                       Still, with dawn, begin adoring;--
                       Ah! by light eternal bidden,
                       Light shall never more be hidden.


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THE LONELY ISLET.

I.


                       LIFT the oar, as silently
                       By yon sacred isle we pass;
                       Know we not if still she sleeps,
                       Where the wind such whisper keeps,
                       In yon waving grass!
                       Death's a mocker to delight,
                       That we know,--and yet,--
                       There was that in every breath
                       Of her motion--in the set
                       Of her features, fair and whole--
                       In the flashing of her eye,
                       Spirit joyous still, and high,
                       Speaking the immortal soul,
                       In a language warm and bright--
                       That should mock at death!

II.


                       Silently!--still silently!
                       Oh! methinks, if it were true,
                       If, indeed, she sleeps--
                       Wakeful never, though the oar
                       Of the well-beloved one, nigh,
                       Break the water as before;--
                       When, with but the sea in view,
                       And the sky-waste, and the shore,
                       Or some star that, sinking, creeps,
                       Between whiles of speech, to show
                       How sweet lover's tears may flow,--
                       They together went, forgetting,
                       How the moon was near her setting,
                       Down amid the waters low;--
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III.


                       Then no more should lovely things,
                       Moon or star, or zephyr, stoop,--
                       But a cloud with dusky wings,
                       Gloom outgiving, still should droop,
                       O'er that islet lone:--
                       And the long grass by the breeze
                       Sullen rising from the seas,
                       Should make constant moan!
                       Silent!--Hark!--that dipping oar,--
                       Oh! methinks, it roused a tone
                       As of one upon the shore!--
                       'Twas the wind that swept the grass!--
                       Silently, oh! silently,--
                       As the sacred spot we pass!

SYBILLA.

IN ILLUSTRATION OF A PICTURE.


                       HER brow is raised, her eye in air,--
                       The spirit burns and triumphs there!--
                       Mark the sacred strength that dwells
                       Where that pure white forehead swells;
                       Lo! the sacred fire that streams
                       From that deep eye's sudden gleams,
                       As a shaft of lightning driven
                       Through the cloud-veil'd deeps of heaven!


                       What the passion in that soul,
                       Thus that bursts and scorns control?
                       Can it be the lowly birth,--


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                       Passion, which has root in earth--
                       Which may govern thus, and move,
                       Soul so high with mortal love?--
                       No! the feeling in that eye
                       Finds its birth-place in the sky.


                       She hath thrown aside the pen,
                       Which she straight resumes agen:--
                       Coursing o'er the spotless leaf,
                       Lo! her heart hath told its grief:
                       What a sorrow in that tone!
                       What a passion in that moan!
                       And the big tear, in her eye,
                       How it speaks the destiny!


                       Read the letters;--speak them;--lo!
                       What a story writ, of woe;
                       Woe is me, that heart like thine,
                       Kindling thus, and pure, should pine;
                       Woe is me, that in thy morn,
                       Thou shouldst blossom thus forlorn;
                       Yet the doom is said in sooth,
                       Thou shalt perish in thy youth:--


                       Lose the promise at thy birth;
                       Lose the pleasant green of earth;
                       Lose the waters, lose the light,
                       Sweet from sense and fair from sight;
                       Ere the breaking of thy heart,
                       From each dear affection part,
                       Die in spirit, ere the doom
                       Drags the mortal to the tomb!--


                       Thus the fearful prophecy
                       Glares before thy [illegible] ndling eye;


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                       Thy own fingers pen the word,
                       Which thy coal-touch'd ear hath heard;
                       Thou art doom'd to witness all,
                       Thou hast loved and cherish'd, fall,--
                       Fall,--the deadliest form of death--
                       From the friendship, from the faith!


                       This is worst--for death is naught
                       To the high and hopeful thought;
                       'Tis a deeper pang that rends,
                       In the parting of firm friends;
                       In the wrenching of that tie
                       Which links souls of sympathy;
                       In the hour that finds us lone,
                       Making o'er the false our moan.


                       Death she fears not;--but to part,
                       With each young dream of the heart;
                       That first hope that brought the rest,
                       All its sweet brood, to the breast;
                       Where a virgin in her cares,
                       Love a mother grew to snares,
                       Which, with harbor'd vipers strove,
                       At the last, to strangle Love!--


                       Yet her sacred soul is strong;
                       She maintains the struggle long;
                       In her cheek the pale is bright,
                       And the tear-drop hath its light;
                       On the lip the moan that's heard
                       Is the singing of a bird,
                       Striving for the distant quire;--
                       And her fingers clasp the lyre.


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                       She is dying,--dying fast,
                       But in music to the last;--
                       Oh! sad swan, thy parting lay
                       Is the sweetest of thy day;
                       And it hath a winged might
                       Bearing up the soul in flight,
                       Still ascending, seeking place,
                       'Mong the angels, for a grace.

THE BURDEN OF THE DESERT.

A PARAPHRASE.--ISAIAH xxi.

I.


                       THE burden of the Desert,
                       The Desert like the deep,
                       That from the south in whirlwinds
                       Comes rushing up the steep;--
                       I see the spoiler spoiling,
                       I hear the strife of blows;
                       Up, watchman, to thy heights, and say
                       How the dread conflict goes!

II.


                       What hear'st thou from the desert?--
                       "A sound, as if a world
                       Were from its axle lifted up
                       And to an ocean hurl'd;
                       The roaring as of waters,
                       The rushing as of hills,
                       And lo! the tempest-smoke and cloud,
                       That all the desert fills."
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III.


                       What seest thou on the desert?--
                       "A chariot comes," he cried,
                       "With camels and with horsemen,
                       That travel by its side;
                       And now a lion darteth
                       From out the cloud, and he
                       Looks backward ever as he flies,
                       As fearing still to see!"

IV.


                       What, watchman, of the horsemen?--
                       "They come, and as they ride,
                       Their horses crouch and tremble,
                       Nor toss their manes in pride;
                       The camels wander scatter'd,
                       The horsemen heed them naught,
                       But speed, as if they dreaded still
                       The foe with whom they fought."

V.


                       What foe is this, thou watchman?--
                       "Hark! Hark! the horsemen come;
                       Still looking on the backward path,
                       As if they fear'd a doom;
                       Their locks are white with terror,
                       Their very shout's a groan;
                       'Babylon,' they cry, 'has fallen,
                       And all her gods are gone!' "


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THE EDGE OF THE SWAMP.


                       'TIS a wild spot, and even in summer hours,
                       With wondrous wealth of beauty and a charm
                       For the sad fancy, hath the gloomiest look,
                       That awes with strange repulsion. There, the bird
                       Sings never merrily in the sombre trees,
                       That seem to have never known a term of youth,
                       Their young leaves all being blighted. A rank growth
                       Spreads venomously round, with power to taint;
                       And blistering dews await the thoughtless hand
                       That rudely parts the thicket. Cypresses,
                       Each a great ghastly giant, eld and gray,
                       Stride o'er the dusk, dank tract,--with buttresses
                       Spread round, apart, not seeming to sustain,
                       Yet link'd by secret twines, that, underneath,
                       Blend with each arching trunk. Fantastic vines,
                       That swing like monstrous serpents in the sun,
                       Bind top to top, until the encircling trees
                       Group all in close embrace. Vast skeletons
                       Of forests, that have perish'd ages gone,
                       Moulder, in mighty masses, on the plain;
                       Now buried in some dark and mystic tarn,
                       Or sprawl'd above it, resting on great arms,
                       And making, for the opossum and the fox,
                       Bridges, that help them as they roam by night.
                       Alternate stream and lake, between the banks,
                       Glimmer in doubtful light: smooth, silent, dark,
                       They tell not what they harbor; but, beware!
                       Lest, rising to the tree on which you stand,
                       You sudden see the moccasin snake heave up
                       His yellow shining belly and flat head


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                       Of burnish'd copper. Stretch'd at length, behold
                       Where yonder Cayman, in his natural home,
                       The mammoth lizard, all his armor on,
                       Slumbers half-buried in the sedgy grass,
                       Beside the green ooze where he shelters him.
                       The place, so like the gloomiest realm of death,
                       Is yet the abode of thousand forms of life,--