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What is a pound? Hard question,—and, besides,
"T is one no poet should be ask'd to answer.
But pounds, tho' powerful in the buyer's hand,
Could never purchase life for any form,
However well-beloved, that death had dealt with!
O there are things of greater worth then gold,
Tho' hardly thought of-Why? They are so common!
While the festival folk are together,
Propose a fit theme for the time;
Not markets, nor mills, nor the weather;
And treat it, remember, in rhyme:
As proper for festival season,
When none are supposed to be sad,
Consider and render a reason
Why all should be thankfully glad;
So do, and as sure as we hear it,
As echo replies to a call,
The people will cheerfully cheer it,—
I speak for the people-for all!
Suppose then a fortune! and, marry,
A treasure so usefully true,
You'll not have to guard it, or carry;
It will, as on wings, carry you!
But first let me ask you the reason,
Perhaps you might gather up many,
Alas! by the gain they are losers;
They pass to the night of the grave.
But those the old blessings retaining,
The choosers of sunshine and air,
Are still with the living remaining,
And rank with the rich and the fair.
Thank God for the fluid we drink of;
Thank God for the air and the light;
Our common wealth's more than we think of!
Our Fortune is blessed and bright,
And none from the poor can conceal it;
To life 't is as light to the day;
And none from the wealthy can steal it!
None sell it, or give it away!
Tho' priceless, there's nothing so common!
There's nothing so needful as air;
Yet no thought is wanted to summon
The good that demandeth no care!
As free, unto faith, saving glory;—
As free, from the youth of the years;
As free, till the ages be hoary,
And life be redeemed from its fears!
As free as the flow from the fountain;
As free as the glow of the day;
As free as the air of the mountain,
And needed as truly as they.
Thank God for the grace of salvation,
The Word of the Saviour's last breath,
When God in humanity's station,
By dying drew life out of death.
THE DREAMLAND CHILD.
UNTO perfection who can find Him out, The Father of the spirits of all flesh ? But who should therefore enter into trouble? The child contented in its father's arms, Has no uneasy doubts, no darksome fears, Nor cares to call its own. It is at rest; And, by its air of cheerful confidence, Its happy smile, and merry notes of joy,Although it cannot yet reach up to words,— Says, notwithstanding, that it is at home, And has the right to be there, and be glad. What! doubt its father? No, nor comprehend; Still not the lily of the field could be, From sad concern, or weary care, more free.
Why should a Christian not be thus content?
Is he not dear to God as ever child
Was unto loving father? And can he
Have better satisfaction than the truth
That God is love for ever and for ever?
On the shore of the sea, while the waters
In majesty rolled to the land,
Was a child-one of dream's fairest daughters—
Bent, scooping a hole in the sand.
And a sage, far in years, who had ponder'd,
Till faint with the travel of thought,
Slept, and, as in dreamland he wander'd,
The look of the ocean-eye caught.
He had wrestled with reason to show him
How God had existed for ever;
He had reasoned, resolving to know Him,
As one may the source of a river.
He had not said "I labour in vain now,
Like one whom the beautiful charms,
And who, therefore, would roll up the rainbow,
And carry it home in his arms!"
Yet his spirit droop'd under depression,
For thought could not compass the theme;
And now, fainting from self-throned oppression,
He slept, but still wander'd in dream.
So he came to the sea where the waters
In majesty rolled to the land,
And the child-one of dream's fairest daughters— Was scooping a hole in the sand.
"In this hole let me now put the ocean!"
The little one said, and so tried!
"Foolish child! what a misinformed notion!"
The sage, in his dreaming, replied.
"Man of pride! if this place of my making
Will not the poor ocean-flood hold,
How canst thou, faithful teaching forsaking,
The INFINITE hope to enfold!"
He awoke, when thus answer'd, no longer
Like one far and faint in a wild ;-
Contented in spirit, and stronger,
He grew from the words of the child.