Page images
PDF
EPUB

THANATOPSIS.

To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language ; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware.. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature's teachings, while from all aroundEarth and her waters, and the depths of air,Comes a still voice-Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,

Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone-nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings, The powerful of the earth-the wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods-rivers that move In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, Old ocean's gray and melancholy waste,Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man.

The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,

Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings
Of morning—and the Barcan desert pierce,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregan, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings—yet—the dead are there :
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.)
So shalt thou rest—and what if thou withdraw
Unheeded by the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod
on,

and each one as before will chase
His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come,
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,
The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron, and maid, .
And the sweet babe, and the gray-headed man,-
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those, who in their turn shall follow them.

ambes

1 2 3 So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan,

that moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death,

8 9

o Thou go not like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

2

THE YELLOW VIOLET.

WHEN beechen buds begin to swell,

And woods the blue-bird's warble know, The yellow violet's modest bell

Peeps from the last year's leaves below.

Ere russet fields their green resume,

Sweet flower, I love, in forest bare, To meet thee, when thy faint perfume

Alone is in the virgin air.

Of all her train, the hands of Spring

First plant thee in the watery mould, And I have seen thee blossoming

Beside the snow-bank's edges cold.

Thy parent sun, who bade thee view

Pale skies, and chilling moisture sip, Has bathed thee in his own bright hue,

And streaked with jet thy glowing lip.

« PreviousContinue »