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TO A WATERFOWL.—Bryant.
Whither, 'midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far, through their rosy depths dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean-side?
There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,→
The desert and illimitable air,-
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned
At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere;
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end,
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows: reeds shall bend
Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone! the abyss of heaven Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given And shall not soon depart.
He, who from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
THE CHEVALIER'S LAMENT.-Burns. The small-birds rejoice in the green leaves returning,
The murmuring streamlet winds clear through the vale; The hawthorn-trees blow in the dews of the morning,
And wild scatter'd cowslips bedeck the sweet dale. But what can give pleasure, or what can seem fair,
While the lingering moments are number'd by care? No flowers gaily springing, nor birds sweetly singing, Can sooth the sad bosom of joyless despair.
The deed that I dared, could it merit their malice?
A King and a Father to place on his throne!
His right are these hills, and his right are these vallies,
Where the wild beasts find shelter, but I can find none.
But 'tis not my suffering,-thus wretched, forlorn!
My brave gallant friends, 'tis your ruin I mourn :
Your deeds proved so loyal in hot bloody trial!
Alas! can I make you no sweeter return!
There's a beauty, forever unchangingly bright,
Like the long, sunny lapse of a summer-day's light,
Shining on-shining on, by no shadow made tender,
Till love falls asleep in its sameness of splendor.
This was not the beauty-oh! nothing like this,
That to young Nourmahal gave such magic of bliss ;
But that loveliness, ever in motion, which plays
Like the light upon autumn's soft shadowy days,
Now here, and now there, giving warmth as it flies
From the lips to the cheek, from the check to the eyes;
Now melting in mist, and now breaking in gleams,
Like the glimpses a saint hath of heaven in his dreams!
When pensive, it seem'd as if that very grace,
That charm of all others, was born with her face;
And when angry,-for ev'n in the tranquilest climes
Light breezes will ruffle the flowers sometimes-
The short, passing anger but seem'd to awaken
New beauty, like flowers that are sweetest when shaken.
If tenderness touch'd her, the dark of her eye
At once took a darker, a heavenlier dye,
From the depths of whose shadow, like holy revealings,
From innermost shrines, came the light of her feelings!
Then her mirth-oh! 'twas playful as ever took wing
From the heart, with a burst, like the wild bird in spring;
Illumed by a wit that would fascinate sages,
Yet playful as Peris just loosed from their cages.
While her laugh, full of life, without any control
But the sweet one of gentleness, rung from her soul;
And where it most sparkled no glance could discover,
In lip, cheek or eyes, for she brighten'd all over,-
Like any fair lake that the breeze is upon,
When it breaks into dimples and laughs in the sun.
CATHARINA.—Addressed to Miss Stapleton.-Cowper.
She came-she is gone-we have met―
And meet perhaps never again;
The sun of that moment is set,
And seems to have risen in vain.
Catharina has filed like a dream—
(So vanishes pleasure alas!)
But has left a regret and esteem,
That will not so suddenly pass.
The last evening ramble we made,
Catharina, Maria, and I,
Our progress was often delayed
By the Nightingale warbling nigh.
We paused under many a tree,
And much was she charmed with a tone
Less sweet to Maria and me,
Who so lately had witnessed her own.
My numbers that day she had sung,
And gave them a grace so divine,
As only her musical tongue
Could infuse into numbers of mine.
The longer I heard, I esteemed
The work of my fancy the more, And ev❜n to myself never seemed
So tuneful a poet before.
Tho' the pleasures of London exceed
In number the days of the year,
Catharina, did nothing impede,
Would feel herself happier here;
For the close woven arches of limes
On the banks of our river, I know, Are sweeter to her many times
Than aught that the city can show. So it is, when the mind is endued
With a well judging taste from above,
Then, whether embellished or rude,
'Tis nature alone that we love;
The achievments of art may amuse,
May even our wonder excite,
But groves, hills, and vallies, diffuse
A lasting, a sacred delight.
Since then in the rural recess
Catharina alone can rejoice,
May it still be her lot to possess
The scene of her sensible choice! To inhabit a mansion remote
From the clatter of street-pacing steeds, And by Philomel's annual note To measure the life that she leads.
With her book, and her voice, and her lyre, To wing all her moments at home;
And with scenes that new rapture inspire,
As oft as it suits her to roam;
She will have just the life she prefers,
With little to hope or to fear,
And ours would be pleasant as hers,
Might we view her enjoying it here.
THE OLD MAN.—Mrs. Sigourney.
Why gaze ye on my hoary hairs,
Ye children young and gay?
Your locks beneath the blast of cares,
Will bleach as white as they.
I had a mother once, like you,
Who o'er my pillow hung,
Kissed from my cheek the briny dew,
And taught my faltering tongue.
She, when the nightly couch was spread,
Would bow my infant knee,
And place her hand upon my head,
And kneeling, pray for me.
But then, there came a fearful day,
I sought my mother's bed,
Till harsh hands bore me thence away,
And told me she was dead.
I plucked a fair white rose, and stole
To lay it by her side,
And thought strange sleep enchained her soul,
For no fond voice replied.
That eve I knelt me down in woe
And said a lonely prayer,
Yet, still my temples seemed to glow
As if that hand were there.