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PRELUDE TO THE VOICES OF TH
PLEASANT it was, when woods were gree
And winds were soft and low,
Alternate come and go;
No sunlight from above,
The shadows hardly move.
I lay upon the ground ;
With one continuous sound ; -
The feelings of a dream,
O'er meadow, lake, and stream.
And dreams of that which cannot die,
Bright visions, came to me,
Like ships upon the sea ;
Ere Fancy has been quelled ; Old legends of the monkish page, Traditions of the saint and sage, Tales that have the rime of age,
And chronicles of eld.
And, loving still these quaint old theme
Even in the city's throng I feel the freshness of the streams That, crossed by shades and sunny glear Water the green land of dreams, The holy land of song.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLO
THE INNER VISION.
Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
'T is much immortal beauty to admire,
Thought is deeper than all speech,
Feeling deeper than all thought;
What unto themselves was taught.
Man by man was never seen ;
To remove the shadowy screen.
Mind with mind did never meet ;
Of a temple once complete.
Far apart though seeming near,
All is thus but starlight here.
But a babbling summer stream ?
But the glancing of a dream ?
Melts the scattered stars of thought,
What the dim-eyed world hath taught.
Only when our souls are fed
By the fount which gave them birth,
Which they never drew from earth,
Swelling till they meet and run,
Melting, flowing into one.
CHRISTOPHER PEARSE CRANCH.
I rest so pleased with what I have I wish no more, no more I crave.
I quake not at the thunder's crack ;
I tremble not at news of war;
I shrink not at a blazing star;
I see some Tantals starved in store ; I see gold's dropsy seldom eased ;
I see even Midas gape for more ; I neither want nor yet abound, Enough 's a feast, content is crowned.
I feign not friendship where I hate ;
I fawn not on the great (in show);
Neither too lofty nor too low :
THE WANTS OF MAN. “Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long." 'T is not with me exactly so ;
But 't is so in the song.
Would muster many a score ; And were each wish a mint of gold,
I still should long for more.
What first I want is daily bread
And canvas-backs - and wine
Before me, when I dine.
My appetite to quell;
To dress my dinner well.
Is elegant attire :
And silks for summer's fire,
My bosom's front to deck,
And rubies for my neck. ,
Affectionate and fair ;
And all its joys to share.
Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene,
THE POET'S REWARD.
THANKS untraced to lips unknown
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
FROM "MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM."
Theseus. More strange than true: I never may
believe These antique fables, nor these fairy toys. Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend More than cool reason ever comprehends. The lunatic, the lover, and the poet Are of imagination all compact : One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, That is, the madman; the lover, all as frantic, Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt ; The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to
heaven; And, as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name.
I weigh not fortune's frown or smile ;
I joy not much in earthly joys ;
I am not fond of fancy's toys :
And close at hand is such a one,
Plain food is quite enough for me;
Three courses are as good as ten ; If nature can subsist on three,
Thank Heaven for three. Amei I always thought cold victual nice; My choice would be vanilla-ice.
I care not much for gold or land ;
Give me a mortgage here and there, Some good bank-stock, - some note of
Or trifling railroad share,
Honors are silly toys, I know,
And titles are but empty names ; I would, perhaps, be Plenipo, –
But only near St. James ; I'm very sure I should not care To fill our Gubernator's chair.
Jewels are bawbles ; 't is a sin
To care for such unfruitful things; One good-sized diamond in a pin,
Some, not so large, in rings, – A ruby, and a pearl or so, Will do for me ;
- I laugh at show.
My dame should dress in cheap attire ;
(Good heavy silks are never dear;) I own perhaps I might desire
Some shawls of true Cashmere, Some marrowy crapes of China silk, Like wrinkled skins on scalded milk.
I would not have the horse I drive
So fast that folks must stop and stare An easy gait, — two, forty-five,
Suits me; I do not care ; -
Of pictures, I should like to own
Titians and Raphaels three or four, I love so much their style and tone,
One Turner, and no more, (A landscape, - foreground golden dirt, , The sunshine painted with a squirt.)
Of temper sweet, of yielding will,
Of firm, yet placid mind,
With sentiment refined.
And Fortune fills my store,
From eight to half a score.
Such bliss on earth to crave ?)
The boys all wise and brave.
To cheer the adverse hour;
Nor bend the knee to power,
My inmost soul to see ;
For him as his for me.
The ensigns of command ;
To rule my native land.
But from my coumtry's will,
of bliss to fill.
To follow me behind,
The friend of human-kind,
Exulting may proclaim
Their blessings on my name.
I cannot want them long,
And earthly bliss — a song.
Is, when beneath the sod,
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. WASHINGTON, August 31, 1841.
"Man wants but little here below."
LITTLE I ask ; my wants are few;
I only wish a hut of stone,
That I may call my own;
Of books but few, some fifty score
For daily use, and bound for wear; The rest upon an upper floor ;
Some little luxury there
And not what Heaven has done undo
THE PEASANT. By an unruly appetite.
FROM "THE PARISH REGISTER." The world is full of beaten roads,
A NOBLE peasant, Isaac Ashford, died. But yet so slippery withal,
Noble he was, contemning all things mean, That where one walks secure 't is odds His truth unquestioned and his soul serene. A hundred and a hundred fall.
Of no man's presence Isaac felt afraid ;
At no man's question Isaac looked dismayed; Untrodden paths are then the best,
Shame knew him not, he dreaded no disgrace; Where the frequented are unsure ;
Truth, simple truth, was written in his face ; And he comes soonest to his rest
Yet while the serious thought his soul approved, Whose journey has been most secure. Cheerful he seemed, and gentleness he loved ;
To bliss domestic he his heart resigned, It is content alone that makes
| And with the firmest had the fondest mind; Our pilgrimage a pleasure here;
Were others joyful, he looked smiling on, And who buys sorrow cheapest takes And gave allowance where he needed none; An ill commodity too dear.
Good he refused with future ill to buy, CHARLES COTTON. Nor knew a joy that caused reflection's sigh ;
A friend to virtue, his unclouded breast
No envy stung, no jealousy distressed ;
(Bane of the poor ! it wounds their weaker mind
To miss one favor which their neighbors find ;) BEHOLD her single in the field,
Yet far was he from Stoic pride removed ; Yon solitary Highland Lass !
He felt humanely, and he warmly loved.
I marked his action, when his infant died, Reaping and singing by herself ;
And his old neighbor for offence was tried ; Stop here, or gently pass !
The still tears, stealing down that furrowed cheek, Alone she cuts and binds the grain, And sings a melancholy strain ;
Spoke pity plainer than the tongue can speak. O listen ! for the vale profound
If pride were his, 't was not their vulgar pride
Who in their base contempt the great deride; Is overflowing with the sound.
Nor pride in learning, though my clerk agreed, No nightingale did ever chaunt
If fate should call him, Ashford might succeed; More welcome notes to weary bands
Nor pride in rustic skill, although we knew Of travellers in some shady haunt
None his superior, and his equals few ;Among Arabian sands; .
But if that spirit in his soul had place, No sweeter voice was ever heard
It was the jealous pride that shuns disgrace ; In spring-time from the cuckoo-bird,
A pride in honost fame, by virtue gained
In sturdy boys to virtuous labors trained ;
Pride in the power that guards his country's coast,
And all that Englishmen enjoy and boast; Will no one tell me what she sings ?
Pride in a life that slander's tongue defied, — Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
In fact, a poble passion misnamed pride.
THE HAPPY MAN.
FROM "THE WINTER WALK AT NOON." That has been, and may be again!
He is the happy man whose life even now Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
Shows somewhat of that happier life to come ; As if her song could have no ending;
Who, doomed to an obscure but tranquil state, I saw her singing at her work,
Is pleased with it, and, were he free to choose, And o'er the sickle bending ;
Would make his fate his choice ; whom peace, I listened till I had my fill;
the fruit And as I mounted up the hill
Of virtue, and whom virtue, fruit of faith, The music in my heart I bore
Prepare for happiness; bespeak him one Long after it was heard no more.
Content indeed to sojourn while he must WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. | Below the skies, but having there his home.