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IN joyous youth, what soul hath never known Thought, feeling, taste, harmonious to its own? Who hath not paus'd, while Beauty's pensive eye Ask'd from his heart the homage of a sigh? Who hath not own'd, with rapture-smitten frame, The power of grace, the magic of a name?
There be, perhaps, who barren hearts avow,
Cold as the rocks on Torneo's hoary brow;
There be, whose loveless wisdom never fail'd,
In self-adoring pride securely mail'd ;-
But, triumph not, ye peace-enamour'd few!
Fire, Nature, Genius, never dwelt with you!
For you no fancy consecrates the scene
Where rapture utter'd vows, and wept between ;
'Tis yours, unmov'd, to sever and to meet;
No pledge is sacred, and no home is sweet!
Who that would ask a heart to dulness wed,
The waveless calm, the slumber of the dead?
No; the wild bliss of Nature needs alloy,
And fear and sorrow fan the fire of joy!
And say, without our hopes, without our fears,
Without the home that plighted love endears,
Without the smile from partial beauty won,
O! what were man?—a world without a sun!
Till Hymen brought his love-delighted hour, bow'r! There dwelt no joy in Eden's rosy In vain the viewless seraph ling'ring there, At starry midnight charm'd the silent air; In vain the wild-bird carol'd on the steep, To hail the sun, slow-wheeling from the deep; In vain, to soothe the solitary shade, Aerial notes in mingling measure play'd; The summer wind that shook the spangled tree, The whispering wave, the murmur of the bee;Still slowly pass'd the melancholy day, And still the stranger wist not where to stray,The world was sad!—the garden was a wild! And man, the hermit, sigh'd-till Woman smil'd!
OH! lives there, Heav'n! beneath thy dread expanse,
One hopeless, dark Idolater of Chance,
Content to feed, with pleasures unrefin'd,
The lukewarm passions of a lowly mind;
Who, mould'ring earthward, reft of every trust,
In joyless union wedded to the dust,
Could all his parting energy dismiss,
And call this barren world sufficient bliss?-
There live, alas! of Heav'n-directed mien,
Of cultur'd soul, and sapient eye serene,
Who hail thee, Man! the pilgrim of a day,
Spouse of the worm, and brother of the clay!
Frail as the leaf in Autumn's yellow bower,
Dust in the wind, or dew upon the flower!
A friendless slave, a child without a sire,
Whose mortal life, and momentary fire,
Lights to the grave his chance-created form,
As ocean-wrecks illuminate the storm;
And, when the gun's tremendous flash is o'er,
To Night and silence sink for ever more!—
Are these the pompous tidings ye proclaim,
Lights of the world, and demi-gods of Fame?
Is this your triumph-this your proud applause,
Children of Truth, and champions of her cause?
For this hath Science search'd, on weary wing,
By shore and sea-each mute and living thing?
Lanch'd with Iberia's pilot from the steep,
To worlds unknown, and isles beyond the deep?
Or round the cope her living chariot driv'n,
And wheel'd in triumph through the signs of Heav'n?
Oh! star-ey'd Science, hast thou wander'd there,
To waft us home the message of despair?
Then bind the palm, thy sage's brow to suit,
Of blasted leaf, and death-distilling fruit!
Ah me! the laurel'd wreath that murder rears,
Blood-nurs'd, and water'd by the widow's tears,
Seems not so foul, so tainted, and so dread,
As waves the night-shade round the sceptic head.
What is the bigot's torch, the tyrant's chain?
I smile on death, if Heav'n-ward Hope remain!
But, if the warring winds of Nature's strife
Be all the faithless charter of my life,
If Chance awak'd, inexorable pow'r!
This frail and fev'rish being of an hour,
Doom'd o'er the world's precarious scene to sweep,
Swift as the tempest travels on the deep,
To know Delight but by her parting smile,
And toil, and wish, and weep, a little while;
Then melt, ye elements, that form'd in vain
'This troubled pulse, and visionary brain!
Fade, ye wild flowers, memorials of my doom!
And sink, ye stars, that light me to the tomb!
Truth, ever lovely, since the world began,
The foe of tyrants, and the friend of man,-
How can thy words from balmy slumber start
Reposing Virtue, pillow'd on the heart!
Yet, if thy voice the note of thunder roll'd,
And that were true which Nature never told,
Let wisdom smile not on her conquer'd field;
No rapture dawns, no treasure is reveal'd!
Oh! let her read, nor loudly, nor elate,
The doom that bars us from a better fate;
But, sad as angels for the good man's sin,
Weep to record, and blush to give it in!
Cease every joy to glimmer on my mind,
But leave-oh! leave the light of Hope behind!
What though my winged hours of bliss have been,
Like angel-visits, few, and far between!
Her musing mood shall every pang appease,
And charm-when pleasures lose the power to please!
Eternal Hope! when yonder spheres sublime
Peal'd their first notes to sound the march of Time,
Thy joyous youth began-but not to fade.-
When all the sister planets have decay'd;
When wrapt in fire the realms of ether glow,
And Heaven's last thunder shakes the world below;
Thou, undismay'd, shalt o'er the ruins smile,
And light thy torch at Nature's funeral pile!
THE ROSE OF THE WILDERNESS.
AT the silence of twilight's contemplative hour,
I have mus'd in a sorrowful mood,
On the wind-shaken weeds that embosom the bower,
Where the home of my forefathers stood.
All ruined and wild is their roofless abode,
And lonely the dark raven's sheltering tree;
And travell❜d by few is the grass-cover'd road,
Where the hunter of deer and the warrior trode
To his hills that encircle the sea.
Yet wandering, I found on my ruinous walk,
By the dial stone aged and green,
One rose of the wilderness left on its stalk,
To mark where a garden had been.
Like a brotherless hermit, the last of its race,
All wild in the silence of Nature, it drew,
From each wandering sun-beam, a lonely embrace,
For the night-weed and thorn overshadowed the place,
Where the flower of my forefathers grew.
Sweet bud of the wilderness! emblem of all
That remains in this desolate heart!
The fabric of bliss to its centre may fall;
But patience shall never depart!
Through the wilds of enchantment, all vernal and bright,
In the days of delusion by fancy combin'd,
With the vanishing phantoms of love and delight,
Abandon my soul like a dream of the night,
And leave but a desert behind.
Be hush'd, my dark spirit! for wisdom condemns
When the faint and the feeble deplore;
Be strong as the rock of the ocean that stems
A thousand wild waves on the shore!
Though the perils of chance, and the scowl of disdain,
May thy front be unaltered, thy courage elate
Yea! even the name I have worshipped in vain
Shall awake not the sigh of remembrance again;
To bear is to conquer our fate,
ALL worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,
The Sun himself must die,
Before this mortal shall assume
I saw a vision in my sleep,
That gave my spirit strength to sweep
Adown the gulf of time!
I saw the last of human mould,
That shall Creation's death behold,
As Adam saw her prime!
The Sun's eye had a sickly glare,
The Earth with age was wan,
The skeletons of nations were
Around that lonely man!
Some had expired in fight,-the brands
Still rusted in their bony hands;
In plague and famine some!
Earth's cities had no sound nor tread,
And ships were drifting with the dead
To shores where all was dumb!
Yet, prophet-like, that lone one stood,
With dauntless words and high,
That shook the sere leaves from the wood
As if a storm pass'd by,
Saying, We are twins in death, proud Sun,
Thy face is cold, thy race is run,
'Tis Mercy bids thee go.
For thou ten thousand thousand years
Hast seen the tide of human tears,
That shall no longer flow.
What though beneath thee man put forth
His pomp, his pride, his skill;
And arts that made fire, flood, and earth,
The vassals of his will;-
Yet mourn not I thy parted sway,
'Thou dim discrowned king of day:
For all those trophied arts
And triumphs that beneath thee sprang,
Heal'd not a passion or a pang
Entail'd on human hearts.