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We the while, of meaner birth,
Who in that divinest spell
Dare not hope to join on earth,
Give us grace to listen well.
But should thankless silence seal
Lips, that might half Heaven reveal,
Should bards in idol-hymns profane
The sacred soul-enthralling strain,
(As in this bad world below
Noblest things find vilest using,)
Then, Thy power and mercy show,
In vile things noble breath infusing;
Then waken into sound divine
ement of Thy shrine,
Till we, like Heaven's star-sprinkled floor,
Faintly give back what we adore;
Childlike though the voices be,
And untunable the parts,
Thou wilt own the minstrelsy
If it flow from childlike hearts.
Mrs. Browning. What are we set on earth for ? say, to toil Nor seek to leave thy tending of the vines, For all the heat o' the day, till it declines, And Death's mild curfew shall from work assoil. God did anoint thee with his odorous oil, To wrestle, not to reign; and He assigns All thy tears over, like pure crystallines, For younger fellow-workers of the soil To wear for amulets. So others shall Take patience, labor, to their heart and hands, From thy hands, and thy heart, and thy brave cheer, And God's grace fructify through thee to all. The least flower, with a brimming cup, may stand, And share its dew-drop with another near.
Blaspheme not thou thy sacred life, nor turn
O’er joys that God hath for a season lent
Perchance to try thy spirit, and its bent,
Effeminate soul and base, weakly to mourn.
There lies no desert in the land of life,
For e'en that tract that barrenest doth seem,
Labored of thee in faith and hope, shall teem
With heavenly harvests and rich gatherings, rife.
Haply no more, music and mirth and love,
And glorious things of old and younger art,
Shall of thy days make one perpetual feast :
But when these bright companions all depart,
Lay there thy head upon the ample breast
Of Hope,—and thou shalt hear the angels sing above.
EXTRACT FROM “ DEJECTION: AN ODE."
S. T. Coleridge.
O Lady! we receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does nature live:
Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud!
And would we aught behold of higher worth,
Than that inanimate cold world allowed
To the poor loveless ever anxious crowd,
Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
Enveloping the Earth -
And from the soul itself must there be sent
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
Of all sweet sounds the life and element!
O pure of heart! thou need’st not ask of me
What this strong music in the soul may be!
What, and wherein it doth exist,
This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
This beautiful, and beauty-making power.
Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given,
Save to the pure, and in their purest hour,
Life, and Life's effluence, cloud at once and shower,
Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power,
Which wedding Nature to us gives in dower,
A new Earth and new Heaven,
Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud, -
Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud
We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms our car or sight,
All melodies the echoes of that voice,
All colors a suffusion from that light.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning, chide;
“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied ?”
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Too long have I, methought, with tearful eye
Pored o’er this tangled work of mine, and mused
Above each stitch awry and thread confused; Now will I think on what in years gone by I heard of them that weave rare tapestry At royal looms, and how they constant use To work on the rough side, and still peruse The pictured pattern set above them high ; So will I set my COPY high above, And gaze and gaze
till on my spirit grows Its gracious impress; till some line of love,
Transposed upon my canvass, faintly glows; Nor look too much on warp or woof, provide He whom I work for sees their fairer side.
What time the mighty moon was gathering light,
Love paced the thymy plots of Paradise,
And all about him rolled his lustrous eyes;
When, turning round a cassia, full in view
Death, walking all alone beneath a yew,
And talking to himself, first met his sight: “You must begone,” said Death ; "these walks are mine."
Love wept and spread his sheeny vans for flight;
Yet ere he parted said, “This hour is thine;
Thou art the shadow of life, and as the tree
Stands in the sun and shadows all beneath,
So in the light of great eternity
Life eminent creates the shade of death;
The shadow passeth when the tree shall fall,
But I shall reign forever over all.”
Thank God, bless God, all ye who suffer not
More grief than ye can weep for. That is well —
That is light grieving ! lighter, none befell,
Since Adam forfeited the primal lot.
Tears! what are tears? The babe weeps in its cot,
The mother singing: at her marriage-bell,
The bride weeps: and before the oracle
Of high-faned hills, the poet hath forgot
That moisture on his cheeks. Thank God for grace,
Whoever weep; albeit, as some have done,
Ye grope tear-blinded, in a desert place,
And touch but tombs, — look up! Those tears will run
Soon, in long rivers, down the lifted face,
And leave the vision clear for stars and sun.
Here sits he shaping wings to fly;
His heart forebodes a mystery:
He names the name Eternity.
That type of Perfect in his mind
In Nature he can nowhere find,
He sows himself on every wind.
He seems to hear a Heavenly Friend,
And through thick veils to apprehend
A labor working to an end.
The end and the beginning vex
His reason: many things perplex,
With motions, checks, and counter-checks.
He knows a baseness in his blood
At such strange war with something good,
He may not do the thing he would.
Heaven opens inward, chasms yawn,
Vast images in glimmering dawn,
Half shown, are broken and withdrawn.
Ah! sure within him and without,
Could his dark wisdom find it out,
There must be answer to his doubt.
A second voice was at mine ear,
A little whisper silver-clear,
A murmur, “Be of better cheer.”
As from some blissful neighbourhood,
A notice faintly understood,
s I see the end, and know the good.”
A little hinc to solace woe,
A hint, a whisper breathing low, “I may not speak of what I know.” Like an Æolian harp that wakes No certain air, but overtakes Far thought with music that it makes : Such seemed the whisper at my side: “What is it thou knowest, sweet voice?” I cried, “A hidden hope,” the voice replied:
So heavenly-toned, that in that hour
From out my sullen heart a power
Broke, like the rainbow from the shower,
To feel, although no tongue can prove,
That every cloud that spreads above
And veileth love, itself is love.
And forth into the fields I went,
And Nature's living motion lent
The puise of hope to discontent.
I wondered at the bounteous hours,
The slow result of winter showers:
You scarce could see the grass for Aowers.