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One ramble through the woods with me,
Thou dear companion of my days!
These mighty woods, how quietly
They sleep in autumn's golden haze!
The gay leaves twinkling in the breeze,
Still to the forest branches cling,
They lie like blossoms on the trees-
The brightest blossoms of the spring.
Flowers linger in each sheltered nook,
And still the cheerful song of bird,
And murmur of the bee and brook,
Through all the quiet groves are heard.
And bell of kine that sauntering browse,
And squirrel, chirping as he hides
Where gorgeously, with crimson boughs,
The creeper clothes the oak's gray sides,
How mild the light in all the skies!
How balmily this south wind blows!
The smile of God around us lies,
His rest is in this deep repose.
These whispers of the flowing air,
These waters that in music fall,
These sounds of peaceful life, declare
The Love that keeps and hushes all.
Then let us to the forest shade,
And roam its paths the live-long day; These glorious hours were never made
In life's dull cares to waste away.
We'll wander by the running stream,
And pull the wild grape hanging o'er,
And list the fisher's startling scream,
That perches by the pebbly shore.
And when the sun, to his repose,
Sinks in the rosy west at even,
And over field and forest throws
A hue that makes them seem like heaven.
We'll overlook the glorious land,
From the green brink of yonder height, And silently adore the hand
That made our world so fair and bright.
CLEAR THE WAY.
Men of thought! be up and stirring
Night and day:
Sow the seed-withdraw the curtain-
Clear the way!
Men of action, aid and cheer them,
There's a fount about to stream,
There's a light about to beam,
There's a warmth about to glow,
There's a flower about to blow,
There's a midnight blackness changing
Men of thought and men of action,
CLEAR THE WAY!
Once the welcome light has broken,
Who shall say
What the unimagined glories
Of the day?
What the evil that shall perish
In its ray?
Aid the dawning, tongue and pen :
Aid it, hopes of honest men:
Aid, it paper-aid it, type-
Aid it, for the hour is ripe,
And our earnest must not slacken
Men of thought and men of action,
CLEAR THE WAY!
Lo! a cloud's about to vanish
From the day;
Lo the right's about to conquer,
Clear the way!
And a brazen wrong to crumble
With that right shall many more
Enter smiling at the door;
With the giant Wrong shall fall
Many others, great and small,
That for ages long have held us
For their prey;
Men of thought, and men of action,
CLEAR THE WAY!
BY JOSEPH BLANCO WHITE.
Mysterious Night! when our first Parent knew
Thee from report divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely Frame,
This glorious canopy of Light and Blue ?
Yet 'neath a curtain of translucent dew,
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus with the Host of Heaven came,
And, lo! Creation widened in man's view.
Who could have thought such Darkness lay con-
Within thy beams, O Sun! or who could find Whilst fly, and leaf, and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless Orbs thou mad'st us blind? Why do we then shun Death with anxious strife? If Light can thus deceive, wherefore not Life?
When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth's aching breast
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west,
And the slave, where'er he cowers, feels the soul within him climb
To the awful verge of manhood, as the energy sublime
Of a century bursts full-blossomed on the thorny stem of Time.
Through the walls of hut and palace shoots the instantaneous throe
When the travail of the Ages wrings earth's systems to and fro:
At the birth of each new Era, with a recognizing start,
Nation wildly looks at nation, standing with mute lips apart,
And glad Truth's yet mightier man-child leaps beneath the Future's heart.
So the Evil's triumph sendeth, with a terror and a chill,
Under continent to continent, the sense of coming ill,
And the slave, where'er he cowers, feels his sympathy with God
In hot tear-drops ebbing earthward, to be drunk up by the sod,
Till a corpse crawls round unburied, delving in the nobler clod.
For mankind is one in spirit, and an instinct bears along
Round the earth's electric circle, the swift flash of right or wrong;
Whether conscious or unconscious, yet Humanity's vast frame
Through its ocean sundered fibres feels the gush of joy or shame ;-
In the gain or loss of one race, all the rest have equal claim.
Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.
Have ye chosen, O my people, on whose party ye shall stand,
Ere the Doom from its worn sandals shake its dust against our land?
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the Truth alone is strong,
And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng
Troops of beautiful tall angels to enshield her from all wrong.
Backward look across the ages, and the beacon-actions see,
That, like peaks of some sunk continent, jut through oblivion's sea;
Not an ear in court or market for the low foreboding cry
Of those Crises, God's stern winnowers, from whose feet earth's chaff must fly;
Never shows the choice momentous till the judgment hath passed by.
Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record
One death-grapple in the darkness 'twix old systems and the Word;
Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,-
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.
We see dimly in the Present what is small and what is great,
Slow of faith how weak an arm may turn the iron helm of fate;
But the soul is still oracular; amid the market's din,
List the ominous stern whisper from the Delphic cave within,
They enslave their children's children, who make compromise with sin."
Slavery, the earth-born Cyclops, fellest of the giant brood,
Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, who have drenched the earth with blood,
Famished in his self-made desert, blinded by our purer day,
Gropes in yet unblasted regions for his miserable prey :
Shall we guide his gory fingers where our helpless children play?
Then to side with Truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses, when the coward stands aside,
Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified,
And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.
For Humanity sweeps onward; where to-day the martyr stands,
On the morrow crouches Judas with the silver in his hands;
Far in front the Cross stands ready, and the crackling faggots burn,
While the hooting mob of yesterday in silent awe return
To glean up the scattered ashes into History's golden urn.
'Tis as easy to be heroes as to sit the idle slaves
Of a legendary virtue carved upon our fathers' graves:
Worshippers of light ancestral make the present light a crime,—
Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, steered by men behind their time?
Turn those tracks toward Past or Future, that make Plymouth rock sublime?
They were men of present valor, stalwart old iconoclasts,
Unconvinced by axe or gibbet that all virtue was the Past's;
But we make their truth our falsehood, thinking that hath made us free,
Hoarding it in mouldy parchments, while our tender spirits flee
The rude grasp of that great Impulse, which drove them across the sea.
They have rights who dare maintain them; we are traitors to our sires,
Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom's new-lit altar fires;
Shall we make their creed our jailor? Shall we, in our haste to slay,
From the tombs of the old prophets steal the funeral lamps away,
To light up the martyr-faggots round the prophets of to-day?
New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward, still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.
Oh, no!-not e'en when first we loved,
Were thou as dear as now thou art,
Thy beauty then my senses moved,
But now thy virtues bind my heart.
What was but passion's sigh before,
Has since been turned to reason's vow: And though I then might love thee more, Trust me, I love thee better now!
Although my heart, in earlier youth,
Might kindle with more wild desire;
Believe me it has gained in truth
Much more than it has lost in fire.
The flame now warms my inmost core
That then but sparkled on my brow; And though I seemed to love thee more, Yet oh I love thee better now.
BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
I have a falcon swift and peerless
As e'er was cradled in the pine,
No bird had ever eye so fearless
Or wing so strong as this of mine;
The winds not better love to pilot
The clouds with molten gold o'errun,
Than him, a little burning islet,
A star above the sunken sun.
But better he loves the lusty morning
When the last white star yet stands at bay,
And earth, half-waked, smiles a child's forewarning
Of the longed-for mother-kiss of day;
Then with a lark's heart doth he tower,
By a glorious upward instinct drawn,-
No bee nestles deeper in the flower,
Than he in the bursting rose of dawn.
What joy to see his sails uplifted
Against the worst that gales can dare,
Through the northwester's surges drifted,
Bold viking of the sea of air!
His eye is fierce, yet mildened over
With something of a dove-like ruth,
I am his master less than lover,-
His short and simple name is Truth.
Whene'er some hoary owl of Error
Lags, though his native night be past,
And at the sunshine hoots his terror,
The falcon from my wrist I cast;
Swooping, he scares the birds uncleanly
That in the holy temple prey,
Then in the blue air floats serenely
Above their hoarse anathema.
The herd of patriot wolves, that, stealing,
To gorge on martyred Freedom run,
Fly, howling, when his shadow, wheeling,
Flashes between them and the sun;
Well for them that our once proud eagle
Forgets his empire of the sky,
And, stript of every emblem regal,
Does buzzard's work for Slavery.
Mount up, my falcon brave and kingly,
Stoop not from thy majestic height,
The terror of thy shadow, singly,
Can put a thousand wrongs to flight;
Wherever in all God's dominions
One ugly falsehood lurks apart,
Let the dread rustle of thy pinions
Send palsy to its traitor-heart.
No harmless dove, no bird that singeth,
Shudders to see thee overhead;
The rush of thy fierce swooping bringeth
To innocent hearts no thrill of dread;
Let frauds and wrongs and falsehoods shiver,
For, still, between them and the sky,
The falcon Truth hangs poised forever,
And marks them with his vengeful eye.
I said once, madly, that I'd hate my race,
For so much base ingratitude and wrong
As it had measured out to me, in place
Of justice, which it had deferred so long.
My best affections I thought wasted long enough,
On what rewarded only with a cold rebuff.
I turned away, and went in search of rest
And peace in Nature's quiet solitude:-
Here all I found with loving kindness blest,
And here I found for resignation,-food :-
Here first I learnt to know myself, and sought to know
What I was for, and what for all things live and grow.
In stagnant pools I saw the lily nourished
By fragrant roses on their borders shaded;
I saw the woodbine here with ivy flourished,
And birds for pleasure in their waters waded;
I saw pink meadow-sweet by poison hemlock grow,
And read a lesson here-a truth that all should know.
I wandered to the woods and cheerful groves,
And found them full of joy and melody;
The birds seemed happy singing of their loves,
And nought seemed lonely I could hear or see; The flowers gave their bloom and fragrance to each
And all seemed near akin-as near as friend or brother.
The trees were social and the flowers and birds, And nothing lonely was, nor yet unloved; All seemed to chide my mood almost in words, More eloquent than I could hear unmoved; To make bird-cradles, vines and branches interlocked, And floral bells sang lullabies as these were rocked. I saw that nothing could exist aloneThat all was made by love, and lived for love; And all that lived in borrowed colors shone
All bade me back to love and friendship move.
I went, and tried my best to love my fellow-men, And by the law of life abide, and live again.
"The Prophets, do they live forever."-Zech. 1.5.
Those spirits God ordained
To stand the watchmen on the outer wall, Upon whose soul the beams of truth first fall, They who reveal the Ideal, the unattained, And to their age, in stirring tones and high, Speak out for God, Truth, Man and LibertySuch Prophets, do they die?