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ONE morning in the month of May
I wandered o'er the hill;
Though nature all around was gay,
My heart was heavy still.
Can God, I thought, the just, the great,
These meaner creatures bless,
And yet deny to man’s estate
The boon of happiness
Tell me, ye woods, ye smiling plains,
Ye blessed birds around,
In which of nature’s wide domains
Can bliss for man be found.
The birds wild carolled over head,
The breeze around me blew,
And nature’s awful chorus said—
No bliss for man she knew.
I questioned love, whose early ray,
So rosy bright appears,
And heard the timid genius say
His light was dimmed by tears.
I questioned friendship: Friendship sighed,
And thus her answer gave—
The few whom fortune never turned
Were withered in the grave.
I asked if vice could bliss bestow
Vice boasted loud and well,
But fading from her withered brow,
The borrowed roses fell.
I sought of feeling, if her skill
Could soothe the wounded breast;
And found her mourning, faint and still,
For others' woes distressed.
I questioned virtue; virtue sighed,
No boon could she dispense--
Nor virtue was her name, she cried,
But humble penitence.
I questioned death—the grisly shade
Relaxed his brow severe—
And “I am happiness,” he said,
“If Virtue guides thee here.”
I see them on their winding way,
About their ranks the moonbeams play;
Their lofty deeds and daring high
Blend with the notes of victory.
And waving arms, and banners bright,
Are glancing in the mellow light:
They’re lost, and gone ; the moon is past,
The wood’s dark shade is o'er them cast;
And fainter, fainter, fainter still
The march is rising o'er the hill.
Again, again the pealing drum,
The clashing horn—they come, they come;
Through rocky pass, o'er wooded steep,
In long and glittering files they sweep.
And nearer, nearer, yet more near,
Their softened chorus meets the ear;
Forth, forth, and meet then on their way;
The trampling hoofs brook no delay;
With thrilling fife and pealing drum,
And clashing horn, they come, they come.
REFLECTED on the lake I love
To see the stars of evening glow,
So tranquil in the heavens above,
So restless in the wave below.
Thus heavenly hope is all serene,
But earthly hope, how bright soe'er,
Still fluctuates o'er this changing scene,
As false and fleeting as 'tis fair.
WHEN eyes are beaming
What never tongue might tell;
When tears are streaming
From their crystal cell;
When hands are linked that dread to part,
And heart is met by throbbing heart,
0, bitter, bitter is the smart
Of them that bid farewell.
When hope is chidden
That fain of bliss would tell,
And love forbidden
In the breast to dwell ;
When fettered by a viewless chain,
We turn and gaze, and turn again,
O, death were mercy to the pain
Of them that bid farewell.