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To thy lone cell-celestial Liberty
Came as a Spirit, and reveald to thee
Her seen, and felt, and full divinity !
Call’d with the light from Chaos—round her fee
She saw the dim clouds of long ages march
Shrouding all else—the column and the throne,
The blasted laurels and the broken arch;
Rolling from earth to heaven, and sweeping there
The very Gods from their Olympian seat,
Changing and crumbling in one common scathe
The shrines made hallow'd by a hollow faith,
Without one trace along the empty air ;-
But Empires fell—Religions past away,
As life renew'd sprung kindling from decay-
But her nor time—nor chance nor fate could mar-
But left all bright and glorious as a star.
There—thro' the gloomy records of gone years
The unvarying tale of terrors and of tears—
Thro' wastes of danger, darkness, and distress,
Glow'd the still beauty of her holiness
Ev’n as the Pillar thro' the desert shone,
Leading the faint, and weak, and weary on,-
Bright thro’ the cloud, and calm amid the blast,
To that blest Canaan—which shall come at last!
Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine ;
But cloud instead, and ever during dark
PARADISE Lost, Book VII. line 25.
Though fall’n on evil days,
In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round,
And solitude, yet not alone, while thou
Visit’st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east.
PARADISE Lost, Book III. line 40.
Day had arisen in the autumn heaven
Clearly and coldly bright—the yellow leaves
Strew'd the sear earth, or fitfully were driven
Before the wild path of the scattering air.
The swallow from the hospitable eaves
Flew forth exulting on his rapid way,
And thro’ the sadness of the waning year
Sung out like Hope—but ev’n as gathering Care
Stern winter comes to mar that matin lay.
Amid the grove the laurel's lonely tree,
Hallow'd by old tradition, still is seen
Dight in the lustre of its deathless green-
A smile on Nature's cheek ;-meet type, I ween,
Of that high fame which grows immortally
Thro' time which changes, and thro' storms which sear,
Bright'ning thro' gloom, and freshening o'er decay.
There sate an old man by that living tree
Which bloom'd his humble dwelling-place beside
The last dim rose which wont to blossom o'er
The threshold, had that morning droop'd and died,
Nipp'd by the withering air; the neighbouring door
Swung on its hinge—within you well might hear
The clock's low murmur bickering on the ear-
And thro’ the narrow opening you might see
The sand which rested on the uneven floor,
The dark-oak board—the morn's untasted fare,
The scatter'd volumes, and the antique chair
Which-worn and homely-brought a rest at last
Sweet after all life's struggles with the past.
The old man felt the fresh air o'er him blowing
Waving the thin locks from his forehead pale,
He felt above the laughing sun was glowing,
And heard the wild birds hymning in the gale,
And scented the awakening sweets which lay
Couch'd on the bosom of the virgin day-
And felt thro' all—and sigh'd not—that for him
The earth was joyless, and the heaven was din,
Creation was a blank—the light a gloom,
And life itself as changeless as the tomb.
He sate—like some wrought monumental stone
Raising his sightless balls to the blue sky;
Life's dreaming morning and its toiling day
Had sadden'd into evening and the deep
And all august repose—which broods on high
What time the wearied storms have died away,
Mighty in silence—like a Giant's sleep
Made calm the lifted grandeur of his brow.
And while he sate, nor saw; a timorous foot
Drew near—a pilgrim from a foreign land,
And of God's softer race ;-and hush'd and mute
She gazed upon that glorious brow; for this
This only gaze
on One whose orb of Fame Yet slowly laboured up from Time's abyss To its unwaning noon-afar she came !
And as she gazed the hot unconscious tears
Flowed fast and full—her heart was far away!
Thro change and care, and long and bitter
years. How had lorn Memory sickened for this day !
Our life is as a circle—and our age
Turns to the thoughts and feelings which engage
In our young morn the vision and the
For manhood's years are restless, and we learn
A bitter lesson--bitterer for the truth
Which suits not with the golden dreams of youth,
And wearies us in age and so we yearn,
Sated and pall’d, for Boyhood's bliss once more.
But ere the world forsakes us-on we flow
Passive and reckless with its mingling tide
Till night comes on—and passions which betray'd
Our reason, quit the ruins they have made-
The winds are lulld—the hurrying waves subside
And leave upon the lone and sterile shore
The baffled bark their wrath had wreck'd before.---
Slight is our love in age to thoughts which bear Man's ruder lot of conflict and of care--