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Rustic Ballads for October. .
Bent low by Autumn's wind and rain,
Through husks that dry and sere Unfolded from their ripened charge,
Shone out the golden ear ;
In many a verdant fold,
The pumpkin's sphere of gold.
There wrought the busy harvesters,
And many a creaking wain Bore slowly to the long barn-floor
Its load of husks and grain ; Till, rayless as he rose that morn,
Sank down at last that sun, Ending the day of dreamy light
And warmth as it begun.
And, lo! as through the western pines,
On meadow, stream, and pond,
Set all afire beyond,
A milder glory shone,
Were mingled into one.
WHITTIER'S “ HUSKERS.”
And the long autumnal rain
All green with grass again ;
Leaving all the woodlands gay With the hues of Summer's rainbow,
Or the meadow-flowers of May. Through a thin, dry mist, that morning,
The sun rose broad and red; At first a rayless disk of fire,
It brightened as it sped.
Fell chastened and subdued
And softly-pictured wood.
Slow sloping to the night,
The haze with yellow light ;
It glorified the hill,
Caught glimpses of that sky, Flecked by the many-tinted leaves,
And laughed they knew not why; And school-girls, gay with aster-flowers,
Beside the meadow-brooks,
The sunshine of sweet looks.
The patient weathercocks,
Stood motionless as rocks ;
Save the squirrel's dropping shell,
Low rustling as they fell.
The stubble-fields lay dry,
The pale green waves of rye ; But, still, on gentle hill-slopes,
In valleys fringed with wood, Ungathered, bleaching in the sun,
The heavy corn-crop stood.
And thus into the quiet night
The sunset lapsed away,
The tranquil shadows lay ;
And hamlet without name,
The merry huskers came.
Swung o'er the heaped-up harvest,
From pitchforks in the mow, Shone dimly down the lanterns
On the pleasant scene below; The growing pile of husks behind,
The golden ears before, And laughing eyes and busy hands,
And brown cheeks glimmering o'er.
Half hidden in a quiet nook,
Serene of look and heart, Talking their old times over,
The old men sat apart ; While, up and down the unhusked pile,
Or nestling in its shade, At hide-and-seek, with laugh and shout,
The happy children played.
SUMMER's gone and over!
Fogs are falling down ; And with russet tinges
Autumn 's doing brown. Boughs are daily rifed
By the gusty thieves, And the Book of Nature
Getteth short of leaves. Round the tops of houses,
Swallows, as they flit,
Notices to quit.
Weep by turns and laugh Night and Day together,
Taking half-and-half. So September endeth
Cold, and most perverse – But the month that follows
Sure will pinch us worse.
Urged by the good host's daughter,
A maiden young and fair,
And pride of soft brown hair,
Sleek of hair and smooth of tongue,
A husking-ballad sung.
Heap high the Golden Corn!
From out her lavish horn.
The apple from the pine,
The cluster from the vine :
Our rugged vales bestow,
Our harvest-fields with snow.
And grasses green and young,
Like mad musicians sung :
Beneath the sun of May,
The robber-crows away.
Its leaves grew thin and fair,
Its soft and yellow hair.
Its harvest-time has come,
And bear the treasure home.
Of golden showers of old,
And knead its meal of gold.
Around their costly board,
By homespun beauty poured.
Sends up its smoky curls,
And bless our corn-fed girls ! * *
Let mildew blight the rye,
The wheat-field to the fly :
The hills our fathers trod ; Still let us for His Golden Corn
Send up our thanks to God !
MISS ELLIOT'S “ FLOWERS OF THE
Lasses a-lilting before the dawn of day ;
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. At buchts,1 in the morning, nae blythe lads are
scorning, The lasses are lonely, and dowie, and wae ; Nae daffin', nae gabbin', but sighing and sabbing,
Ilk ane lifts her leglen and hies her away. In hairst, at the shearing, nae youths now are
jeering, The bandsters are lyart, and runkled, and gray ; At fair, or at preaching, nae wooing, nae fleeching
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. At o'en, at the gloaming, nae swankies are roaming
'Bout stacks wi' the lasses at bogles to play ; But ilk ane sits drearie, lamenting her dearie
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. Dule and wae for the order, sent our lads to the
Border ! The English, for ance, by guile wan the day ; The Flowers of the Forest, that foucht aye the
foremost, The prime o' our land, are cauld in the clay. We hear nae mair lilting at our yowe-milking,
Women and bairns are heartless and wae ;
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away.
Psalms and Hymns for October.
The grape in rich clusters hung, promising mirth, And the boughs of the apple-tree slept on the earth.
Did we thank thee, then, God of the seasons? 0, no! We were prompt in accepting thy favors, but slow Were our lips to give thanks for the rich gifts, thy hand
[land. Showered thick on the maize-littered vales of our
Thou hast rained on us manna, Lord, — yet we are mute ;
[fruit; Though summer's all smiles, of thy love are the Springs and autumns, as fair as the Orient boasts, Dawn on us, – - yet faint are our tongues, Lord of
QUARLES'S PSALM 42: 1.
LONGING AFTER GOD. How shall my tongue express that hallowed fire, Which heaven hath kindled in my ravished
heart ! What muso shall I invoke, that will inspire
My lowly quill to act a lofty part ! What art shall I devise to express desire,
Too intricate to be expressed by art ! Let all the Nine be silent ; I refuse
Their aid in this high task, for they abuse The flames of love too much : assist David's muse. Not as the thirsty soil desires soft showers
To quicken and refresh her embryon grain ; Nor as the drooping crests of fading flowers
Request the bounty of a morning rain, Do I desire my God : these in few hours
Rewish what late their wishes did obtain ; But as the swift-foot hart doth wounded fly
To the much-desired streams, even so do I Pant after Thee, my God, whom I must find, or die! Before a pack of deep-mouthed lusts I flee ;
0, they have singled out my panting heart, And wanton Cupid, sitting in the tree,
Hath pierced my bosom with a flaming dart ; My soul being spent, for refuge seeks to Thee,
But cannot find where Thou, my refuge, art : Like as the swift-foot hart doth wounded fly
To the desired streams, e'en so do I Pant after Thee, my God, whom I must find, or die!
Now we raise our glad voices — in gratitude raise, And we waft on the beams of the morning our
praise ; We thank thee for golden grain gathered in shock, And the milk of the kine, and the fleece of the flock.
And we thank thee for limbs moving light to the
task, For hearts beating high, though unwarmed of the
flask ; Fill us, Lord, with just sense of thy bounty, and
give Health to us, and to all in the land where we live.
JONES'S “ AUTUMNAL HYMN.”
Now we rest from our toils, Lord, our labors are
done, Our meadows are bared to the kiss of the sun ; We have winnowed the wheat, - well our toil it
repays, And our oxen have eaten the husks of the maize.
NATURE, thy daughter, ever-changing birth
We gathered our harvests ; with strength in each limb
[to him ; Toiled the mower ; the ripe grass bowed prostrate And the reaper, as nimbly he felled the proud grain, Was blither than those who wear sceptres and reign. And the wheat-blade was tall, and the full, golden
Proclaimed that the months of rejoicing were near;
studiis florens ignoblis oti.
Virg. Georg., Lib. IV.
RURAL RETIREMENT A COMMON CRAVING.
Calls him away from selfish ends and aims,
HACKNEYED in business, wearied at that oar, Which thousands, once fast chained to, quit no more, But which, when life at ebb runs weak and low, All wish, or seem to wish, they could forego ; The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade, Pants for the refuge of some rural shade, Where, all his long anxieties forgot Amid the charms of a sequestered spot, Or recollected only to gild o'er, And add a smile to what was sweet before, He may possess the joys he thinks he sees, Lay his old age upon the lap of ease, Improve the remnant of his wasted span, And, having lived a trifler, die a man.
HABITS OF A LIFE BROKEN THROUGH WITH DIFFICULTY.
CONSCIENCE CALLS TO THE QUIET COUNTRY LIFE. Thus Conscience pleads her cause within the
breast, Though long rebelled against, not yet suppressed, And calls a creature formed for God alone, For heaven's high purposes, and not his own ;
'T is well if, looked for at so late a day, In the last scene of such a senseless play, True wisdom will attend his feeble call, And grace his action ere the curtain fall. Souls, that have long despised their heavenly birth, Their wishes all impregnated with earth, For three-score years employed with ceaseless care In catching smoke and feeding upon air, Conversant only with the ways of men, Rarely redeem the short remaining ten.
Inveterate habits choke th' unfruitful heart,
Instruct me, guide me to that heavenly day
GOD'S WORKS A PROPER THEME FOR THE MEDITATIONS OF
THE HEAVENLY WISDOM IN LIVING.
Happy, if full of days — but happier far, If, ere we yet discern life's evening star, Sick of the service of a world, that feeds Its patient drudges with dry chaff and weeds, We can escape from custom's idiot sway, To serve the Sovereign we were born t' obey. Then sweet to muse upon his skill displayed (Infinite skill) in all that He has made !
O blest proficiency ! surpassing all That men erroneously their glory call, The recompense that arts or arms can yield, The bar, the senate, or the tented field. Compared with this sublimest life below, Ye kings and rulers, what have courts to show? Thus studied, used and consecrated thus, On earth what is, seemed formed indeed for us : Not as the plaything of a froward child, Fretful unless diverted and beguiled, Much less to feed and fan the fatal fires Of pride, ambition, or impure desires, But as a scale, by which the soul ascends From mighty means to more important ends, Securely, though by steps but rarely trod, Mounts from inferior beings up to God, And sees, by no fallacious light or dim, Earth made for man, and man himself for Him.
WONDERS OF INSECT LIFE.
RETIREMENT MORE FRIENDLY THAX BUSINESS TO SPIRITUAL
To trace in Nature's most minute design The signature and stamp of power divine, Contrivance intricate, expressed with ease, Where unassisted sight no beauty sees, The shapely limb and lubricated joint, Within the small dimensions of a point, Muscle and nerve miraculously spun, His mighty work, who speaks, and it is done, Th' invisible in things scarce seen revealed, To whom an atom is an ample field ; To wonder at a thousand insect forms, These hatched, and those resuscitated worms, New life ordained and brighter scenes to share, Once prone on earth, now buoyant upon air, (size, Whose shape would make them, had they bulk and More hideous foes than fancy can devise ; With helmet-heads and dragon-scales adorned, The mighty myriads, now securely scorned, Would mock the majesty of man's high birth, Despise his bulwarks, and unpeople earth.
GRANDECR OF THE CONTEMPLATION OF NATURE.
Then with a glance of fancy to survey, Far as the faculty can stretch away, Ten thousand rivers poured at his command From urns, that never fail, through every land ; These like a deluge with impetuous force, Those winding modestly a silent course ; The cloud-surmounting Alps, the fruitful vales ; Seas, on which every nation spreads her sails ; The sun, a world whence other worlds drink light, The crescent moon, the dindem of night ; Stars countless, each in his appointed place, Fast anchored in the deep abyss of space At such a sight to catch the poet's flame, And with a rapture like his own exclaim, These are thy glorious works, thou Source of Good, How dimly seen, how faintly understood ! Thine, and upheld by thy paternal care, This universal frame, thus wondrous fair ; Thy power divine, and bounty beyond thought, Adored and praised in all that Thou hast wrought. Absorbed in that immensity I see, I shrink abased, and yet aspire to Thee ;
Not that I mean t approve, or would enforce, A superstitious and monastic course : Truth is not local, God alike pervades And fills the world of traffic and the shades, And may be feared amidst the busiest scenes, Or scorned where business never intervenes. But 't is not easy, with a mind like ours, Conscious of weakness in its noblest powers, And in a world where, other ills apart, The roving eye misleads the careless heart, To limit thought, by nature prone to stray Wherever freakish fancy points the way ; To bid the pleadings of self-love be still, Resign our own and seek our Maker's will; To spread the page of Scripturo, and compare Our conduct with the laws engraven there ; To measure all that passes in the breast, Faithfully, fairly, by that sacred test; To dive into the secret deeps within, To spare no passion and no favorite sin, And search the themes, important above all, Ourselves and our recovery from our fall. But leisure, silence, and a mind released From anxious thoughts how wealth may be inHow to secure, in some propitious hour, [creased, The point of interest, or the post of power, A soul serene, and equally retired From objects too much dreaded or desired, Safe from the clamors of perverse dispute, At least are friendly to the great pursuit.