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And what is hope?—the puffing gale of morn,
That robs each floweret of its gem, and dies;
A cobweb, hiding disappointment's thorn,
Which stings more keenly through the thin disguise.
And what is death ?-Is still the cause unfound?
That dark, mysterious name of horrid sound?
A long, and lingering sleep the weary crave,
And peace ?-where can its happiness abound?
Nowhere at all, save heaven and the grave.
Then what is life ?When stript of its disguise,
A thing to be desired it cannot be;
Since every thing that meets our foolish eyes
Gives proof sufficient of its vanity.
'Tis but a trial all must undergo;
To teach unthankful mortals how to prize Such happiness vain man's desired to know, Until he's called to meet it in the skies.
'Tis midnight-on the globe dead slumber sits,
And all is silence-in the hour of sleep;
Save when the hollow gust, that swells by fits,
In the dark wood roars fearfully and deep.
I wake alone to listen and to weep,
To watch, my taper, thy pale beacon burn;
And, as still memory does her vigils keep,
To think of days that never can return.
By thy pale ray I raise my languid head,
My eye surveys the solitary gloom;
And the sad tear, unmixed with dread,
Tells thou dost light me to the silent tomb. Like thee I wane ;-like thine my life's last ray
Will fade in loneliness, unwept, away.
gone into the grave of time
And it hath
The past the mighty sepulchre of all!
That solemn sound-the midnight's mournful chime,
Was its deep dead-bell !-but, within the hall,
The old and young held gladsome festival.--
What hath it left them, thus to cause such joy?—
Gray hairs to some-and hearts less green to all,
And fewer steps to where their fathers lie
Low in the church-yard cell-cold-dark-and silently!
Strange time for mirth !-when round the leafless tree
The wild winds of the winter moan and sigh,
And, while the twilight saddens o'er the lea,
Mute every woodland's evening melody-
Mute the wide landscape-save where hurrying by
Roars the dark torrent on its headlong flight,
Or slowly sailing through the blackening sky,
Hoots unto solitude the bird of night;
Seeking the domeless wall-the turret's hoary height :
And yet with nature, sooth, we need not grieve;
She does not heed the woes of humankind;
No; for the tempests howl-the waters heave
Their hoary hills unto the raging wind,
And the poor bark no resting-place can find ;
And friends on shore shall weep-and weep in vain,
For, to the ruthless elements consigned,
The seaman's corpse is drifting through the main, Ne'er to be seen by them-nor heard of e'er again.
Now o'er the skies the orbs of light are spread,
And through yon shoreless sea they wander on :-
Where is the place of your abode ye dead?
To what far regions have your spirits gone?
But ye are silent-silent as the stone
That gathers moss above your bed of rest,
And from the land of souls returneth none
To tell us of the place to which we haste:
But time will tell us all-and time will tell us best.
How still-how soft--and yet how dread is all
The scene around!-the silent earth and air!
What glorious lamps are hung in night's high hall--
Her dome-so vast, magnificent, and fair !
Oh! for an angel's wing to waft me there!
How sweet, methinks, e'en for one little day,
To leave this cold, dull sphere of cloud and care,
And, 'midst the immortal bowers above, to stray
In lands of light and love-unblighted by decay.
Surely there is a language in the sky---
A voice that speaketh of a world to come ;
It swells from out thy depths, Immensity!
And tells us this is not our final home.
As the tossed bark amidst the ocean's foam,
Hails, through the gloom, the beacon o'er the wave;
So from life's troubled sea, o'er which we roam,
The stars, like beacon lights beyond the grave,
Shine through the deep, o'er which our barks we hope
to save !
Now gleams the moon o'er Arthur's mighty crest,
That dweller of the air-abrupt and lone;
Hushed is the city in her nightly rest;
But hark! there comes a sweet and solemn tone,
The lingering strains, that swelled, in ages gone,
The music of the wake-Oh! many an ear
Raised from the pillow gentle sleep hath flown,
Lists with delight, while blend the smile and tear,
As recollections rise of
many a vanished year.