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That likest thy Narcissus are ?

0, if thou have
Hid them in some flow'ry cave,

Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere!
So may'st thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all heaven's harmonies.

JOHN MILTON, 1608–1674.


Like to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are,
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew,
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood —
Even such is man, whose borrow'd light
Is straight call'd in, and paid to-night,
The wind blows out; the bubble dies ;
The spring entomb’d in autumn lies;
The dew dries up; the star is shot;
The flight is past—and man forgot.

HENRY KING, Bishop of Chichester, 1591-1669.


Reflected on the lake, I love

To see the stars of evening glow,
So tranquil in the heaven above,

So restless in the wave below.

Thus heavenly Hope is all serene;

But earthly Hope, how bright soe’er,
Still flutters o'er this changing scene,
As false and fleeting as 'tis fair.



Beauty still walketh on the earth and air,
Our present sunsets are as rich in gold
As ere Iliad's music was outrolled ;

The roses of the spring are ever fair,
'Mong branches green still ring-doves coo and pair,
And the deep sea still foams its music old.
So, if we are at all divinely souled,
This beauty will unloose our bonds of care.
'Tis pleasant, when blue skies are o'er us bending,
Within old starry-gated Poesy,
To meet a soul set to no worldly tune,
Like thine, sweet friend ! oh, dearer this to me
Than are the dewy trees, the sun, the moon,
Or noble music with a golden ending.



There is an evening twilight of the heart

When its wild passion-waves are lull’d to rest, And the eye sees life’s fairy scenes depart,

As fades the day-dream in the rosy west. 'Tis with a nameless feeling of regret

We gaze upon them as they melt away,. And fondly would we bid them linger yet.

But Hope is 'round us with her angel lay, Hailing afar some happier moonlight hour; Dear are her whispers still, though lost their early power.

In youth the cheek was crimson'd with her glow

Her smile was loveliest then; her matin song Had heaven's own music, and the note of woe

Was all unheard her sunny bowers among. Life's little world of bliss was newly born;

We knew not, cared not, it was born to die,
Flush'd with the cool breeze and the dews of morn,

With dancing heart we gazed on the pure sky,
And mock the passing clouds that dimm'd its blue,
Like our own sorrows then, as fleeting and as few.
And manhood felt her sway too-on the eye,

Half realized her early dreams burst bright,
Her promised bower of happiness seem'd nigh,

Its days of joy, its vigils of delight.
And though at times might lower the thunder-storm,

And the red lightnings threaten, still the air
Was balmy with her breath, and her loved form,

The rainbow of the heart, was hovering there.

'Tis in life's noontide she is nearest seen, Her wreath the summer flower, her robe of summer green.

But though less dazzling in her twilight dress,

There's more of heaven's pure beam about her now; That angel-smile of tranquil loveliness,

Which the heart worships, glowing on her brow; That smile shall brighten the dim evening-star

That points our destined tomb, nor e'er depart
Till the faint light of life is fled afar,

And hush'd the last deep beating of the heart;
The meteor bearer of our parting breath,
A moombeam in the midnight cloud of death.


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