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As to the sunshine and the bright pure air
Their tops the green trees lift.
Hence gifted bards
Have ever loved the calm and quiet shades;
For them there was an eloquent voice in all-
The sylvan pomp of woods-the golden sun-
The flowers-the leaves-the river on its way-
Blue skies-and silver clouds-and gentle winds-
The swelling upland, where the sidelong sun
Aslant the wooded slope, at evening, goes-
Groves, through whose broken roof the sky looks in—
Mountain-and shattered cliff-and sunny vale-
The distant lake-fountains-and mighty trees-
In many a lazy syllable repeating
Their old poetic legends to the wind.
And this is the sweet spirit that doth fill
The world; and, in these wayward days of youth,
My busy fancy oft embodies it,
As a bright image of the light and beauty
That dwell in nature-of the heavenly forms.
Another American Poet of much and deserved reputation among his countrymen is W. O. B. PEABODY. The religious spirit of his poetry, breathed because it is felt, and not uttered of purpose to be pious, is not the least of its recommendations. It is shown most sweetly in the following:
THE moon is up! How calm and slow
She wheels above the hill!
The weary winds forget to blow,
And all the world lies still.
The way-worn travellers, with delight
The rising brightness see,
Revealing all the paths and plains,
And gilding every tree.
It glistens where the hurrying stream
Its little ripple leaves;
It falls upon the forest shade,
And sparkles on the leaves.
So once on Judah's evening hills
The heavenly lustre spread;
The gospel sounded from the blaze,
And shepherds gazed with dread.
And still that light upon the world
Its guiding splendour throws:
Bright in the opening hours of life,
But brighter at the close.
The waning moon in time shall fail
To walk the midnight skies
But God hath kindled this bright light
With fire that never dies.
A passage from MILTON's Paradise Lost.
Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honour clad
In naked majesty, seemed lords of all;
And worthy seemed: for in their looks divine,
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure
(Severe, but in true filial freedom placed),
Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed;
For contemplation he, and valour formed,
For softness she, and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him.
His fair large front and eye sublime declared
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks,
Round from his parted forelock, manly hung,
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist,
Her unadorned golden tresses wore,
Dishevell❜d, but in wanton ringlets waved
As the vine curls her tendrils; which implied
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight
Of God or angel, for they thought no ill :
So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met.
THOMAS MILLER, by calling a working basket-maker, but a true poet; uneducated, but not unlearned; a self-taught, self-dependant man, is the author of this fine composition, which appears in Friendship's Offering for the year 1836.
How many days, with mute adieu,
Have gone down yon untrodden sky?
And still its looks as clear and blue
As when it first was hung on high.
The rolling sun, the frowning cloud
That drew the lightning in its rear,
The thunder, tramping deep and loud,
Have left no footmark there.
The village bells, with silver chime,
Come soften'd by the distant shore;
Though I have heard them many a time,
They never rung so sweet before.
A silence rests upon the hill,
A listening awe pervades the air:
The very flowers are shut, and still,
And bow'd as if in prayer.
And in this hush'd and breathless close,
O'er earth, and air, and sky,
That still low voice in silence goes,
Which speaks alone, great God! of Thee.
The whispering leaves, the far-off brook,
The linnet's warble fainter grown,
The hive-bound bee, the lonely rook,-
All these their Maker own.
Now shine the starry hosts of light,
Gazing on earth with golden eyes;
Bright guardians of the blue-brow'd night!
What are ye in your native skies?
I know not! neither can I know,
Nor on what leader ye attend,
Nor whence ye came, nor whither go,
Nor what your aim or end.
I know they must be holy things
That from a roof so sacred shine,
Where sounds the beat of angel-wings,
And footsteps echo all Divine.
Their mysteries I never sought,
Nor hearken'd to what Science tells,
For oh! in childhood I was taught
That God amidst them dwells.
The darkening woods, the fading trees,
The grasshopper's last feeble sound,
The flowers just waken'd by the breeze,
All leave the stillness more profound.
The twilight takes a deeper shade,
The dusky pathways blacker grow,
And silence reigns in glen and glade,—
All, all is mute below.
And other eves as sweet as this
Will close upon as calm a day,
And, sinking down the deep abyss,
Will, like the last, be swept away;
Until eternity is gain'd,
That boundless sea without a shore,
That without time for ever reign'd,
And will when time's no more.
Now nature sinks in soft repose,
A living semblance of the grave; The dew steals noiseless on the rose,
The boughs have almost ceased to wave ;
The silent sky, the sleeping earth,
Tree, mountain, stream, the humble sod, All tell from whom they had their birth, "Behold a God!"
THOMAS BUCHANAN READ, a young American poet of great promise, is the author of this charming bit of landscape.
BEFORE the stout harvesters falleth the grain,
As when the strong storm-wind is reaping the plain ;
And loiters the boy in the briery lane;
But yonder aslant comes the silvery rain,
Like a long line of spears brightly burnished and tall.
Adown the white highway, like cavalry fleet,
It dashes the dust with its numberless feet.
Like a murmurless school, in their leafy retreat,
The wild birds sit listening the drops round them beat;
And the boy crouches close to the blackberry wall.
The swallows alone take the storm on their wing, And, taunting the tree-sheltered labourers, sing, Like pebbles the rain breaks the face of the spring, While a bubble darts up from each widening ring; And the boy, in dismay, hears the loud shower fall.
But soon are the harvesters tossing the sheaves; The robin darts out from his bower of leaves; The wren peereth forth from the moss-covered eaves; And the rain-spatter'd urchin now gladly perceives That the beautiful bow bendeth over them all.
This is by COLERIDGE.
THOU gentle look, that didst my
Why hast thou left me?
Revisit my sad heart, auspicious smile!
As falls on closing flowers the lunar beam!
What time in sickly mood, at parting day
I lay me down and think of happier years;
Of joys that glimmer'd in Hope's twilight ray,
Then left me, darkling in a vale of tears.
Still in some fond dream