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LESSON XXIV.

On the custom of planting flowers on the graves of departed

friends. --BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.

To 'scape from chill misfortune's gloom,

From helpless age and joyless years;
To sleep where flowerets round us bloom ;

Can such a fate deserve our tears?

Since, in the tomb, our cares, our woes,

In dark oblivion buried lie,
Why paint that scene of calm repose

In figures painful to the eye?

To die !-what is in death to fear ?

'Twill decompose my lifeless frame ! A Power, unseen, still watches near,

To light it with a purer flame.

And, when anew that flame shall burn,

Perhaps the dust, that lies enshrined,
May rise, a woodbine, o'er my urn,

With verdant tendrils round it twined.

How would the gentle bosom beat,

That sighs at death's resistless power,
A faithful friend again to meet

Fresh blooming in a fragrant flower!

The love, that in my bosom glows,

Will live when I shall long be dead,
And, haply, tinge some budding rose

That blushes o'er my grassy bed.

10, thou who hast so long been dear,

When I shall cease to smile on thee,
I know that thou wilt linger here,

With pensive soul, to sigh for me.

Thy gentle hand will sweets bestow,

Transcending Eden's boasted bloom;
Each flower with brighter tints shall glow,

When Love and Beauty seek my tomb.

And, when the rose-bud's virgin breath

With fragrance fills the morning air,
Imagine me released from death,

And all my soul reviving there.

LESSON XXV.

Thoughts of a young man in the prospect of death.

HENRY K. White.

Sad, solitary Thought, who keep'st thy vigils, Thy solemn vigils, in the sick man's mind, Communing lonely with his sinking soul, And musing on the dubious glooms that lie In dim obscurity before him,--thee, Wrapped in thy dark magnificence, I call At this still, midnight hour, this awful season, When, on my bed, in wakeful restlessness, I turn me, wearisome. While all, around, All, all, save me, sink in forgetfulness, I only wake to watch the sickly taper Which lights me to my tomb.--Yes, 'tis the hand Of death I feel press heavy on my vitals, Slow-sapping the warm current of existence.

My moments now are few. The sand of life Ebbs fastly to its finish.—Yet a little, And the last fleeting particle will fall, Silent, unseen, unnoticed, unlamented. Come, then, sad Thought, and let us meditate, While meditate we may.-There's left us now But a small portion of what men call time, To hold communion; for, even now, the knife, The separating knife, I feel divide The tender bond that binds my soul to earth. Yes, I must die--I feel that I must die; And though, to me, life has been dark and dreary, Though hope, for me, has smiled but to deceive, And disappointment marked me as her victim, Yet do I feel my soul recoil within me, As I contemplate the dim gulf of death, The shuddering void, the awful blank-futurity.

Ay, I had planned full many a sanguine scheme Of earthly happiness--romantic schemes, And fraught with loveliness :--and it is hard To feel the hand of death arrest one's steps, Throw a chill blight o'er all one's budding hopes, And hurl one's soul untimely to the shades, Lost in the gaping gulf of blank oblivion.

Fifty years hence, and who will hear of Henry?
O, none another busy brood of beings
Will shoot up in the interim, and none
Will hold him in remembrance. I shall sink
As sinks a stranger in the crowded streets
Of busy London :-some short bustle's caused,
A few inquiries, and the crowds close in,
And all's forgotten. On my grassy grave
The men of future times will careless tread,
And read my name upon the sculptured stone;
Nor will the sound, familiar to their ears,
Recall

my
vanished memory.

I did hope
For better things:--I hoped I should not leave
The earth without a vestige. Fate decrees
It shall be otherwise, and I submit.

Henceforth, O world, no more of thy desires ! No more of hope !-the wanton, vagrant hope ! I abjure all.-Now other cares engross me, And my tired soul, with emulative haste, Looks to its God, and plumes its wings for heaven.

LESSON XXVI.

The Grave.-- BERNARD BARTON.

I LOVE to muse, when none are nigh,

Where yew tree branches wave, And hear the winds, with softest sigh,

Sweep o'er the grassy grave.

It seems a mournful music, meet

To soothe a lonely hour;
Sad though it be, it is more sweet

Than that from Pleasure's bower.

I know not why it should be sad,

Or seem a mournful tone, Unless by man the spot be clad

With terrors not its own.

To nature it seems just as dear

As earth's most cheerful site;
The dew-drops glitter there as clear,

The sun-beams shine as bright.

The showers descend as softly there

As on the loveliest flowers;
Nor does the moon-light seem more fair

On Beauty's sweetest bowers.

“Ay! but within--within, there sleeps

One, o'er whose mouldering clay The loathsome earth-worm winds and creeps,

And wastes that form away.”

And what of that? The frame that feeds

The reptile tribe below,
As little of their banquet heeds,

As of the winds that blow.

LESSON XXVII.

The Fall of the Leaf-MILONOV.*

The autumnal winds had stripped the field

Of all its foliage, all its green; The winter's harbinger had stilled

That soul of song which cheered the scene.

With visage pale, and tottering gait,

As one who hears his parting knell, I saw a youth disconsolate :

He came to breathe his last farewell.

“Thou grove ! how dark thy gloom to me!

Thy glories riven by autumn's breath!

* From Bowring's Russian Anthology, Vol. II.

In every falling leaf I see

A threatening messenger of death.

“O Æsculapius !* in my ear

Thy melancholy warnings chime :-
'Fond youth! bethink thee, thou art here

A wanderer—for the last, last time.
“ Thy spring will winter's gloom o'ershade,

Ere yet the fields are white with snow;
Ere yet the latest flowerets fade,

Thou, in thy grave, wilt sleep below.'
“I hear the hollow murmuring-

The cold wind rolling o'er the plain-
Alas! the brightest days of spring

How swift! how sorrowful! how vain !

“O wave, ye dancing boughs, O wave!

Perchance to-morrow's dawn may see
My mother, weeping on my grave :

Then consecrate my memory.

“I see, with loose, dishevelled hair,

Covering her snowy bosom, come
The angel of my childhood there,

And dew, with tears, my early tomb.

" Then, in the autumn's silent eve,

With fluttering wing and gentlest tread,
My spirit its calm bed shall leave,

And hover o'er the mourner's head.”

Then he was silent :-faint and slow

His steps retraced :-he came no more :
The last leaf trembled on the bough,

And his last pang of life was o'er.
Beneath the aged oaks he sleeps :

The angel of his childhood there
No watch around his tomb-stone keeps ;

But, when the evening stars appear, * In the Greek mythology, the cock was one of the animals consecrated to Æsculapius, the god of medicine.

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