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Whose touch, upon the lute chords low,
Had stilled his heart so oft.
She spread her mantle o'er his breast,
She bathed his lips with dew,
And on his cheek such kisses pressed,
As Joy and Hope ne'er knew.
Oh! lovely are ye, Love and Faith,
Enduring to the last!
She had her meed-one smile in Death-
And his worn spirit passed.
While even as o'er a martyr's grave,
She knelt on that sad spot,
And weeping, blessed the God who gave
Strength to forsake it not !
He who hath bent him o'er the dead,
Ere the first day of death is fled,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,).
And marked the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fixed yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek,
And-but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now,
And but for that chill, changeless brow,
Where cold Obstruction's apathy
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon;
Yes, but for these and these alone,
Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power;
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,
The first, last look by death revealed!
Such is the aspect of this shore;
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!
So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for soul is wanting there.
Hers, is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath;
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb;
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of Feeling past away!
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherished earth !
Be wise to day; 'tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead,
Thus on, till wisdom is pushed out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;.
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment, leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
If not so frequent, would not this be strange?
That 'tis so frequent; this is stranger still.
Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
The palm, that all men are about to live,
Forever on the brink of being born.
All pay themselves the compliment to think
They one day shall not drivel; and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise,
At least their own: their future selves applaud;
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead !
Time lodged in their own hands is folly's vails;
That lodged in fate's to wisdom they consign;
The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone ;
"Tis not in Folly, not to scorn a fool;
And scarce in human wisdom, to do more.
All promise is poor dilatory man,
And that through every stage; when young, indeed
In full content we sometimes nobly rest
Unanxious for ourselves; and only wish,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise.
At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan ;
At fifty, chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve :
In all the magnanimity of thought
Resolves; and re-resolves; then dies the same.
In colleges and halls in ancient days, When learning, virtue, piety, and truth, Were precious, and inculcated with care, There dwelt a sage called Discipline. Not yet by time completely silvered o'er, Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth, But strong for service still, and unimpaired. His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile Played on his lips, and in his speech was heard Paternal sweetness, dignity and love. The occupation dearest to his heart Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke The head of modest and ingenuous worth, That blushed at its own praise; and press the youth Close to his side that pleased him. Learning grew Beneath his care, a thriving vigorous plant; The mind was well informed, the passions held Subordinate, and diligence was choice.
If e'er it chanced, as sometimes chance it must,
That one among so many overleaped
The limits of control, his gentle eye
Grew stern and darted a severe rebuke:
His frown was full of terror, and his voice
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe,
As left him not, till penitence had won
Lost favor back again, and closed the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Declined at length into the vale of years:
A palsy struck his arm: his sparkling eye
Was quenched in rheums of age: his voice, unstrung,
Grew tremulous, and moved derision more
Than rev'rence, in perverse rebellious youth.
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend; and Discipline at length,
O'erlooked and unemployed, fell sick and died.
Then Study languished. Emulation slept,
And Virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stilts,
His cap well lined with logic not his own,
With parrot tongue performed the scholar's part,
Proceeding soon a graduated dunce.
Then compromise had place, and scrutiny
Became stone blind; precedence went in truck,
And he was competent whose purse was so:
A dissolution of all bonds ensued;
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
Of headstrong youth were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, opening with a touch;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The tasseled cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mockery of the world. What was learned,
If aught was learned in childhood, is forgot;
And such expense, as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is squandered in pursuits of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name,
That sits a stigma on his father's house,
And cleaves thro' life inseparably close
To him that wears it.
Ow ame we most the nurslings or the nurse? The children crooked, and twisted, and deformed, Through want of care; or her, whose winking eye And slumbering oscitancy mars the brood? The nurse, no doubt. Regardless of her charge, She needs herself correction; needs to learn, That it is dangerous sporting with the world, With things so sacred as a nation's trust, The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge, All are not such. I had a brother oncePeace to the memory of a man of worth, A man of letters and of manners too! Of manners sweet as Virtue always wears, When gay good nature dresses her in smiles. He graced a college, in which order yet Was sacred; and was honored, loved and wept, By more than one, themselves conspicuous there. Some minds are tempered happily, and mixed With such ingredients of good sense, and taste Of what's excellent in man, they thirst With such a zeal to be what they approve, That no restraints can circumscribe them more Than they themselves by choice, for wisdom's sake. Nor can example hurt them: what they see Of vice in others but enhancing more The charms of virtue in their just esteem. If such escape contagion, and emerge Pure from so foul a pool to shine abroad, And give the world their talents and themselves, Small thanks to those whose negligence or sloth Exposed their inexperience to the snare, And left them to an undirected choice.