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For Winter came: the wind was his whip;
One choppy finger was on his lip:
He had torn the cataracts from the hills,
And they clank'd at his girdle like manacles;
His breath was a chain which, without a sound, The earth, and the air, and the water bound;
fiercely driven in his chariot throne By the tenfold blasts of the arctic zone.
Then the weeds which were forms of living death,
Fled from the frosts to the earth beneath:
Their decay and sudden flight from frost,
Was but like the vanishing of a ghost !
And under the roots of the sensitive plant
The moles and the dormice died for want;
And the birds dropp'd stiff from the frozen air,
And were caught in the branches naked and bare.
First there came down a thawing rain,
And its dull drops froze on the boughs again,
Then there steam'd up a freezing dew
Which to the drops of the thaw-rain grew;
And a northern whirlwind, wandering about
Like a wolf that had smelt a dead child out,
Shook the boughs thus laden and heavy and stiff,
And snapp'd them off with his rigid griff.
When winter had gone and spring came back,
The sensitive-plant was a leafless wreck;
But the mandrakes, and toadstools, and docks,
and darnels, Rose like the dead from their buried charnels.
Whether the sensitive plant, or that
Which within its boughs like a spirit sat,
Ere its outward form had known decay,
Now felt this change, I cannot say.
Whether that lady's gentle mind,
No longer with the form combined,
Which scatter'd love, as stars do light,
Found sadness where it left delight,
I dare not guess; but in this life
Of error, ignorance, and strife,
Where nothing is, but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream.
It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant, if one considers it,
To own that death itself must be,
Like all the rest, a mockery.
Tha: garden sweet, that lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odours there,
In truth, have never pass'd away:
'tis ours, are changed ! not they. For love, and beauty, and delight, There is no death nor change; their might Exceeds our organs, which endure No light, being themselves obscure.
BY. REV. JAMES F. CLARKE,
Little firstlings of the year!
Have you come my room to cheer ?
You are dry and parched, I think ;
Stand within this glass and drink ;
Stand beside me on the table,
'Mong my books—if I am able,
I will find a vacant space
For your bashfulness and grace;
Learned tasks and serious duty
Shall be lightened by your beauty.
Pure affection's sweetest token,
Choicest hint of love unspoken,
Friendship in your help rejoices,
Uttering her mysterious voices.
You are gifts the poor may offer.
Wealth can find no better proffer :
For you tell of tastes refined,
Thoughtful heart and spirit kind.
Gift of gold or jewel dresses
Ostentation's thought confesses ;
Simplest mind this boon may give,
Modesty herself receive.
For lovely woman you were meant
The just and natural ornament,
Sleeping on her bosom fair,
Hiding in her raven hair,
Or, peeping out mid golden curls.
You outshine barbaric pearls;
Yet you lead no thought astray,
Feed not pride nor vain display,
Nor disturb her sisters' rest,
Waking envy in their breast.
Let the rich, with heart elate,
Pile their board with costly plate ;
Richer ornaments are ours,
We will dress our home with flowers ;
Yet no terror need we feel
Lest the thief break through to steal.
Ye are playthings for the child,
Gifts of love for maiden mild,
Comfort for the aged eye,
For the poor, cheap luxury.
Though your life is but a day,
Precious things, dear flowers, you say,
Telling that the Being good
Who supplies our daily food,
Deems it needful to supply
Daily food for heart and eye.
So, though your life is but a day,
We grieve not at your swift decay ;
He, who smiles in your bright faces,
Sends us more to take your places ;
'Tis for this ye fade so soon,
That he may renew the boon:
That kindness often may repeat
These mute messages so sweet :
That Love to plainer speech may get,
Conning oft his alphabet ;
That beauty may be rain'd from heaven,
New with every morn and even,
With freshest fragrance sunrise greeting:
Therefore are ye, flowers, go fleeting.
PANSIES, lilies, king-cups, daisies,
Let them live upon their praises ;
Long as there's a sun that sets,
Primroses will have their glory;
Long as there are violets,
They will have a place in story:
There's a flower that shall be mine,
'Tis the little Celandine.