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A CONTRAST.

BY W. G. CLARK.

It was the morning of a day in spring-
The sun looked gladness from the eastern sky;
Birds upon the trees and on the wing,
And all the air was rich with melody;
The heaven—the calm, pure heaven, was bright on high;
Earth laugh'd beneath in all its fresh'ning greer,
The free blue streams sang as they wandered by,

And many a sunny glade and flowery scene
Gleam'd out, like thoughts of youth, life's troubled years be-

tween.

The rose's breath upon the south wind came-
Oft as its whisperings the young branches stirr’d,
And flowers for which the poet has no name;
While, midst the blossoms of the grove, were heard
The restless murmurs of the humming-bird:
Waters were dancing in the mellow light;
And joyous notes and many a cheerful word

Stole on the charmed ear with such delight
As waits on soft sweet tones of music heard at night.

The night-dews lay in the half open'd flower,
Like hopes that nestle in the youthful breast;
And ruffled by the light airs of the hour,
Awoke the pure lake from its glassy rest:
Slow blending with the blue and distant west,

Lay the dim woodlands, and the quiet gleam
Of amber clouds, like islands of the blest

Glorious and bright, and changing like a dream,
And lessening fast away beneath the intenser beam.

Songs were amid the mountains far and wide
Songs were upon the green slopes blooming nigh:
While, from the springing flowers on every side,
Upon his painted wings, the butterfly
Roamed, a sweet blossom of the sunny sky;
The visible smile of joy was on the scene;
'Twas a bright vision, but too soon to die !

Spring may not linger in her robes of green--
Autumn, in storm and shade shall quench the summer sheen.

I came again. "Twas Autumn's stormy hour-
The wild winds murmured in the faded wood;
The sere leaves, rustling in the yellow bower,
Were hurled in eddies to the moaning flood:
Dark clouds enthrall’d the west an orb of blood,
The red sun pierced the hazy atmosphere;
While torrent voices broke the solitude,

Where, straying lonely, as with steps of fear,
I mark'd the deepening gloom which shrouds the dying year.

The ruffled lake heav'd wildly-near the shore
It bore the red leaves of the shaken tree-
Shed in the violent north wind's restless roar,
Emblems of man upon life's stormy sea!
Pale autumn leaves ! once to the breezes free
They waved in Spring and Summer's golden prime-
Now, even as clouds or dew, how fast they flee-

Weak, changing like the flowers in Autumn's clime, As man sinks down in death, chilled by the touch of time !

I marked the picture'twas the changeful scene
Which life holds up to the observant eye:
Youth's spring, and summer, and its bowers of

grecn,
The streaming sunlight of its morning sky,
And the dark clouds of death which linger by:
For oft, when life is fresh and hope is strong,
Shall early sorrow breathe the unbidden sigh,

While age to death moves peacefully along, As on the singer's lip expires the finished song.

UNIV. OF MICHIGAN,

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