Page images
PDF
EPUB

When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees

are still, And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill, The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late

he bore, And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more. And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died, The fair, meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side : In the cold moist earth we laid her when the forest cast the

leaf, And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief; Yet not unmeet it was, that one, like that young friend of ours, So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.

a

The Skies.-BRYANT.

Ay, gloriously thou standest there,

Beautiful, boundless firmament!
That, swelling wide o'er earth and air,

And round the horizon bent,
With that bright vault and sapphire wall,
Dost overhang and circle all.

Far, far below thee, tall gray trees

Arise, and piles built up of old,
And hills, whose ancient summits freeze

In the fierce light and cold.
The eagle soars his utmost height;
Yet far thou stretchest o'er his flight.

Thou hast thy frowns: with thee, on high,

The storm has made his airy seat:
Beyond thy soft blue curtain lie

His stores of hail and sleet:
Thence the consuming lightnings break;
There the strong hurricanes awake.

Yet art thou prodigal of smiles

Smiles sweeter than thy frowns are stern:
Earth sends, from all her thousand isles,

A song at their return;
The glory that comes down from thee
Bathes in deep joy the land and sea.

The sun, the gorgeous sun, is thine,

The pomp that brings and shuts the day,
The clouds that round him change and shine,

The airs that fan his way.
Thence look the thoughtful stars, and there
The meek moon walks the silent air.

The sunny Italy may boast

The beauteous tints that flush her skies,
And lovely, round the Grecian coast,

May thy blue pillars rise :-
I only know how fair they stand
About my own beloved land.

And they are fair: a charm is theirs,

That earth—the proud, green earth—has not,
With all the hues, and forms, and airs,

That haunt her sweetest spot.
We gaze upon thy calm, pure sphere,
And read of heaven's eternal year.

Oh! when, amid the throng of men,

The heart grows sick of hollow mirth,
How willingly we turn us, then,

Away from this cold earth,
And look into thy azure breast,
For seats of innocence and rest !

From The Minstrel Girl.-JAMES G. WHITTIER.

HER lover died. Away from her,

The ocean-girls his requiem sang,
And smoothed his dreamless sepulchre

Where the tall coral branches sprang.
And it was told her how he strove

With death; but not from selfish fear:
It was the memory of her love

Which made existence doubly dear.
They told her how his fevered sleep

Revealed the phantom of his brain-
He thought his love had come to keep

Her vigils at his couch of pain ;

And he would speak in his soft tone,

And stretch his arms to clasp the air,
And then awaken with a moan,

And weep that there was nothing there!
And when he bowed himself at last

Beneath the spoiler's cold eclipse,
Even as the weary spirit passed,

Her name was on his marble lips.
She heard the tale; she did not weep;

It was too strangely sad for tears ;
And so she kept it for the deep

Rememberings of after years.
She poured one lone and plaintive wail

For the loved dead-it was her last-
Like harp-tones dying, on the gale

Her minstrelsy of spirit passed :
And she became an altered one,

Forgetful of her olden shrine,
As if her darkened soul had done

With all beneath the fair sunshine.

Weep for Yourselves, and for your Children

MRS. SIGOURNEY.

We mourn for those who toil,

The slave who ploughs the main,
Or him who hopeless tills the soil

Beneath the stripe and chain ;
For those who in the world's hard race

O’erwearied and unblest,
A host of restless phantoms chase, -

Why mourn for those who rest?
We mourn for those who sin,

Bound in the tempter's snare,
Whom syren pleasure beckons in

To prisons of despair,
Whose hearts, by whirlwind passions torn,

Are wrecked on folly's shore,
But why in sorrow should we mourn

For those who sin ne more?

We mourn for those who weep,

Whom stern afflictions bend

With anguish o'er the lowly sleep

Of lover or of friend ;-
But they to whom the sway

Of pain and grief is o'er,
Whose tears our God hath wiped away,

Oh, mourn for them no more !

The sudden Coming on of Spring after long Rains.

CARLOS Wilcox.

THE spring, made dreary by incessant rain,
Was well nigh gone, and not a glimpse appeared
Of vernal loveliness, but light-green turf
Round the deep bubbling fountain in the vale,
Or by the rivulet on the hill-side, near
Its cultivated base, fronting the south,
Where, in the first warm rays of March, it sprung
Amid dissolving snow :-save these mere specks
Of earliest verdure, with a few pale flowers,
In other years bright blowing soon as earth
Unveils her face, and a faint vermil tinge
On clumps of maple of the softer kind,
Was nothing visible to give to May,
Though far advanced, an aspect more like her's
Than like November's universal gloom.
All day, beneath the sheltering hovel, stood
The drooping herd, or lingered near to ask
The food of winter. A few lonely birds,
Of those that in this northern clime remain
Throughout the year, and in the dawn of spring,
At pleasant noon, from their unknown retreat,
Come suddenly to view with lively notes,
Or those that soonest to this clime return
From warmer regions, in thick groves were seen,
But with their feathers ruffled, and despoiled
Of all their glossy lustre, sitting mute,
Or only skipping, with a single chirp,
In quest of food. Whene'er the heavy clouds,
That half way down the mountain side oft hung,
As if o'erloaded with their watery store,
Were parted, though with motion unobserved,
Through their dark opening, white with snow appe
Its lowest, e'en its cultivated, peaks.

With sinking heart the husbandman surveyed
The melancholy scene, and much his fears
On famine dwelt; when, suddenly awaked
At the first glimpse of daylight, by the sound,
Long time unheard, of cheerful martins, near
His window, round their dwelling chirping quick,
With spirits by hope enlivened, up he sprung
To look abroad, and to his joy beheld
A sky without the remnant of a cloud.
From gloom to gayety and beauty bright
So rapid now the universal change,
The rude survey it with delight refined,
And e'en the thoughtless talk of thanks devout.
Long swoln in drenching rain, seeds, germs, and buds.
Start at the touch of vivifying beams.
Moved by their secret force, the vital lymph
Diffusive runs, and spreads o'er wood and field
A flood of verdure. Clothed, in one short week,
Is naked nature in her full attire.
On the first morn, light as an open plain
Is all the woodland, filled with sunbeams, poured
Through the bare tops, on yellow leaves below,
With strong reflection: on the last, 'tis dark
With full-grown foliage, shading all within.
In one short week, the orchard buds and blooms;
And now, when steeped in dew or gentle showers,
It yields the purest sweetness to the breeze,
Or all the tranquil atmosphere perfumes.
E'en from the juicy leaves, of sudden growth,
And the rank grass of steaming ground, the air,
Filled with a watery glimmering, receives
A grateful smell, exhaled by warming rays.
Each day are heard, and almost every hour,
New notes to swell the music of the groves.
And soon the latest of the feathered train
At evening twilight come ;--the lonely snipe,
O’er marshy fields, high in the dusky air,
Javisible, but, with faint, tremulous tones,
Hovering or playing o'er the listener's head;
And, in mid-air, the sportive night-hawk, seen
Flying awhile at random, uttering oft
A cheerful cry, attended with a shake
Of level pinions, dark, but, when upturned,
Against the brightness of the western sky,
One white plume showing in the midst of each,

« PreviousContinue »