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To me their many-coloured beauties speak
Of times of merriment and festival,
The years best holiday: I call to mind
The school boy days, when in the falling leaves
I saw with eager hope the pleasant sign
Of coming Christmas, when at morn I took
My wooden kalender, and counting up
Once more its often-told account, smooth'd off
Each day with more delight the daily notch.
To you the beauties of the autumnal year
Make mournful emblems, and you think of man
Doom'd to the grave's long winter, spirit-broke,
Bending beneath the burden of his years,
Sense-dull'd and fretful, “full of aches and pains,"
Yet clinging still to life. To me they shew
The calm decay of nature, when the mind
Retains its strength, and in the languid eye
Religion's holy hopes kindle a joy
That makes old age look lovely. All to you
Is dark and cheerless; you in this fair world
See some destroying principle abroad,
Air, earth, and water full of living things
Each on the other preying; and the ways
Of man, a strange perplexing labyrinth,
Where crimes and miseries, each producing each,
Render life loathsome, and destroy the hope
That should in death bring comfort. Oh my friend
That thy faith were as mine! that thou couldest see
Death still producing life, and evil still
Working its own destruction; couldst behold
The strifes and tumults of this troubled world
With the strong eye that sees the promised day
Dawn thro' this night of tempest! all things then
Would minister to joy; then should thine heart
Be healed and harmonized, and thou shouldst feel
God, always, every-where, and all in all.
TELL me, thou dust beneath my feet,
Thou dust that once had breath!
Tell me how many mortals meet
In this small hill of death?
The Mole, that scoops with curious toil
Her subterranean bed,
Thinks not she ploughs a human soil,
And mines among the dead.
But, O! where'er she turns the ground
My kindred earth I see;
Once every atom of this mound
Lived, breathed, and felt like me.
Like me these elder-born of clay
Enjoy'd the cheerful light,
Bore the brief burden of a day,
And went to rest at night.
Far in the regions of the morn,
The rising sun surveys
Palmyra's palaces forlorn,
Empurpled with his rays.
The spirits of the desert dwell
Where eastern grandeur shone,
And vultures scream, hyænas yell
Round Beauty's mouldering throne.
There the pale pilgrim, as he stands
Sees, from the broken wall,
The shadow tottering on the sands,
Ere the loose fragment fall.
Destruction joys, amid those scenes,
To watch the sport of Fate,
While Time between the pillars leans,
And bows them with his weight.
But towers and temples crush'd by Time,
Stupendous wrecks! appear
To me less mournfully sublime
Than the poor Mole-hill here.
Through all this hillock's crumbling mould
Once the warm life-blood ran;
-Here thine original behold,
And here thy ruins, Man!
Methinks this dust yet heaves with breath;
Ten thousand pulses beat;
Tell me,-in this small hill of death,
How many mortals meet?
By wafting winds and flooding rains,
From ocean, earth, and sky,
Collected here, the frail remains
Of slumbering millions lie.
What scene of terror and amaze
Breaks through the twilight gloom?
What hand invisible displays
The secrets of the tomb?
And every grain of earth
Beneath my feet, before mine eyes,
Is startled into birth.
Like gliding mists the shadowy forms
Through the deep valley spread,
And like descending clouds in storms
Lower round the mountain's head.
O'er the wide champaign while they pass, Their footsteps yield no sound,
Nor shake from the light trembling grass A dew-drop to the ground.
Among the undistinguish'd hosts,
My wondering eyes explore
Awful, sublime, terrific ghosts,
Heroes and kings of yore :-
Tyrants, the comets of their kind,
Whose withering influence ran
Through all the promise of the mind,
And smote and mildew'd man :-
Sages, the pleiades of earth,
Whose genial aspects smiled,
And flowers and fruitage sprang to birth
O'er all the human wild.
Yon gloomy ruffian, gash'd and gored,
Was he, whose fatal skill
First beat the plough-share to a sword,
And taught the art to kill.
Behind him skulks a shade, bereft
Of fondly-worshipp'd Fame;
He built the Pyramids,-but left
No stone to tell his name.
Who is the chief, with visage dark
As tempests when they roar?
-The first who push'd his daring bark Beyond the timid shore.