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The wretched man in vain attempts, in vain,
Powerless his voice as in a fearful dream-
Not so his hand; he strikes a flint,-a blaze
Mounts from the ready heap of wither'd leaves:
The music ceases; accents harsh succeed,
Harsh, but most grateful; downward drop the sails;
Ingulf'd the anchor sinks; the boat is launch'd;
But cautious lies aloof till morning dawn:
Oh then the transport of the man, unus'd
To other human voice beside his own,—
His native tongue to hear! he breathes at home,
Though earth's diameter is interpos'd.
Of perils of the sea he has no dread,
Full well assur'd the mission'd bark is safe,
Held in the hollow of the ALMIGHTY'S HAND.
A SABBATH WALK IN SUMMER.
DELIGHTFUL is this loneliness; it calms
My heart; pleasant the cool beneath these elms,
That throw across the stream a moveless shade.
Here Nature in her midnoon whisper speaks:
How peaceful every sound! the ring-dove's plaint,
Moan'd from the twilight centre of the grove,
While every other woodland lay is mute,
Save when the wren flits from her down-coved nest,
And from the root-sprigs trills her ditty clear,—
The grasshopper's oft pausing chirp,-the buzz,
Angrily shrill, of moss-entangled bee,
That, soon as loos'd, booms with full twang away,-
The sudden rushing of the minnow shoal,
Scar'd from the shallows by my passing tread.
Dimpling the water glides, with here and there
A glossy fly, skimming in circlets gay
The treacherous surface, while the quick-eyed trout
Watches his time to spring; or, from above,
Some feather'd dam, purveying 'mong the boughs,
Darts from her perch, and to her plumeless brood
Bears off the prize:-sad emblem of man's lot!
He, giddy insect, from his native leaf,
(Where safe and happily he might have lurk'd,)
Elate upon ambition's gaudy wings,
Forgetful of his origin, and, worse,
Unthinking of his end, flies to the stream;
And if from hostile vigilance he 'scape,
Buoyant he flutters but a little while,
Mistakes the inverted image of the sky
For heaven itself, and, sinking, meets his fate.
Now, let me trace the stream up to its source
Among the hills; its runnel by degrees
Diminishing, the murmur turns a tinkle.
Closer and closer still the banks approach,
Tangled so thick with pleaching bramble-shoots,
With brier, and hazel branch, and hawthorn spray,
That, fain to quit the dingle, glad I mount
Into the open air; grateful the breeze
That fans my throbbing temples! smiles the plain
Spread wide below: how sweet the placid view!
But, oh! more sweet the thought, heart-soothing thought,
That thousand and ten thousands of the sons
Of toil partake this day the common joy
Of rest, of peace, of viewing hill and dale,
Of breathing in the silence of the woods,
And blessing HIM who gave the Sabbath-day.
Yes, my heart flutters with a freer throb,
To think that now the townsman wanders forth
Among the fields and meadows, to enjoy
The coolness of the day's decline; to see
His children sport around, and simply pull
The flower and weed promiscuous, as a boon,
Which proudly in his breast they smiling fix.
Again I turn me to the hill, and trace
The wizard stream, now scarce to be discern'd; Woodless its banks, but green with ferny leaves, And thinly strew'd with heath-bells up and down.
Now, when the downward sun has left the glens,
Each mountain's rugged lineaments are traced
Upon the adverse slope, where stalks gigantic
The shepherd's shadow thrown across the chasm,
As on the topmost ridge he homeward hies.
How deep the hush! the torrent's channel, dry,
Presents a stony steep, the echo's haunt.
But hark, a plaintive sound floating along!
'Tis from yon heath-roof'd shielin; now it dies
Away, now rises full; it is the song
Which HE who listens to the halleluias
Of choiring Seraphim delights to hear;
It is the music of the heart, the voice
Of venerable age,-of guileless youth,
In kindly circle seated on the ground
Before their wicker door. Behold the man!
The grandsire and the saint; his silvery locks
Beam in the parting ray; before him lies,
Upon the smooth-cropt sward, the open Book,
His comfort, stay, and ever-new delight;
While heedless, at his side, the lisping boy
Fondles the lamb that nightly shares his couch.
LOOSED from the winding lane, a joyful throng,
See o'er yon pasture how they pour along!
Giles round their boundaries takes his usual stroll,
Sees every gate secur'd, and fences whole:
High fences, proud to charm the gazing eye,
Where many a nestling first essays to fly;
Where blows the woodbine, faintly streak'd with red,
And rests on every bough its tender head;
Round the young ash its twining branches meet,
Or crown the hawthorn with its odour sweet.
Say, ye that know, ye who have felt and seen
Spring's morning smiles, and soul-enlivening green,
Say, did you give the thrilling transport way?
Did your eye brighten, when young lambs at play
Leap'd o'er your path with animated pride,
Or grazed in merry clusters by your side?
Ye who can smile, to wisdom no disgrace,
At the arch meaning of a kitten's face;
If spotless innocence, and infant mirth,
Excites to praise, or gives reflection birth;
In shades like these pursue your favourite joy,
Midst Nature's revels, sports that never cloy.
A few begin a short but vigorous race,
And indolence, abash'd, soon flies the place :
Thus challeng'd forth, see thither one by one,
From every side assembling playmates run;