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THE PATIENCE OF THE POOR.
WHEN leisurely the man of ease
His morning's daily course begins, And round him in bright circle sees The comforts independence wins, He seems unto himself to hold
An uncontested natural right, In life a volume to unfold,
Of simple ever-new delight.
And if, before the evening close,
The hours their rainbow wings let fall, And sorrow shakes his bland repose,
And too continuous pleasures pall, He murmurs, as if nature broke
Some promise plighted at his birth, In bending him beneath the yoke
Borne by the common sons of earth. They starve beside his plenteous board, They halt behind his easy wheels; But sympathy in vain affords
The sense of ills he never feels. He knows he is the same as they,
A feeble, piteous, mortal thing, And still expects that every day
Increase and change of bliss should bring. Therefore, when he is called to know
The deep realities of pain,
Are the great charter of his kind,
Weakness of flesh and human mind. Not so the people's honest child,
The field-flower of the open sky, Ready to live while winds are wild,
Nor, when they soften, loath to die; To him there never came the thought
That this, his life, was meant to be A pleasure-house, where peace unbought
Should minister to pride or glee.
You oft may hear him murmur loud
Against the uneven lots of Fate, You oft may see him inly bow'd
Beneath affliction's weight on weight:But rarely turns he on his grief
A face of petulant surprise,
The unluxurious couch of need,
And sinking powerless as a reed: So sick in both, he hardly knows
Which is his heart's or body's sore, For the more keen his anguish grows,
His wife and children pine the more. No search for him of dainty food,
But coarsest sustenance of life,
No rest by artful quiet wooed,
But household cries, and wants, and strife;
Yet, brothers! God has given to few,
Through the long progress of our kind,
The heart's enduring real desires,
And seek the good the time requires. These are the prophets, these the kings, And lawgivers of human thought, Who in our being's deepest springs
The engines of their might have sought; Whose utterance comes, we know not whence, Being no more their own than ours, With instantaneous evidence
Of titles just and sacred powers.
But bold usurpers may arise
Of this as of another's throne; Persuasion waits upon the wise,
But waits not on the wise alone: An echo of your evil self
No better than the voice can be, And appetites of fame or pelf
Grow not in good as in degree.
Then try the speaker, try the cause,
With prudent care, as men who know The subtle nature of the laws
By which our feelings ebb and flow: Lest virtue's void and reason's lack
Be hid beneath a specious name, And on the people's helpless back
Rest all the punishment and shame.
Why not believe the homely letter
That all you give will God restore? The poor man may deserve it better,
And surely, surely wants it more:
And whatsoe'er the issue be
Bare quittance of his labour's worth,
To take and tame from waste and wood!
That all men to their mortal rest
Past shadow-like, and left behind No free result, no clear bequest,
Won by their work of hand or mind! That every separate life begun
A present to the past unbound, A lonely, independent, one, ́
Sprung from the cold mechanic ground!
What would the record of the past, The vision of the future be?
Nature unchanged from first to last,
Between our England's noblest men And the most vile Australian race Outprowling from their bushy den. Then freely as from age to age,
Descending generations bear
Of friendly and parental care,-
So freely open you your hand!
Your pure benevolence to mar;
Franchise of human brotherhood. And if this lesson come too late,
Wo to the rich and poor and all! The madden'd outcast of the gate
Plunders and murders in the hall; Justice can crush and hold in awe,
HEART of the People! Working men!
Through streaming time this world of ours; Hold by that title,-which proclaims
That ye are undismay'd and strong, Accomplishing whatever aims
May to the sons of earth belong. Yet not on ye alone depend
These offices, or burdens fall;
Is lord and master of us all.
Must meet the morn with horse and hound, While industry for daily bread
Pursues afresh his wonted round. With all his pomp of pleasure, he
Is but your working comrade now, And shouts and winds his horn, as ye Might whistle 1 y the loom or plough; In vain for him ha; wealth the use
Of warm repose and careless joy,When, as ye labour to produce,
He strives, as active, to destroy. But who is this with wasted frame,
Sad sign of vigour overwrought? What toil can this new victim claim? Pleasure, for pleasure's sake besought.
How men would mock her flaunting shows, Her golden promise, if they knew What weary work she is to those
Who have no better work to do! And he who still and silent sits
In closed room or shady nook, And seems to nurse his idle wits
With folded arms or open book: To things now working in that mind
Your children's children well may owe Blessings that hope has ne'er defined,
Till from his busy thoughts they flow. Thus all must work: with head or hand,
For self or others, good or ill; Life is ordain'd to bear, like land,
Some fruit, be fallow as it will: Evil has force itself to sow
Where we deny the healthy seed,— And all our choice is this,-to grow
Pasture and grain, or noisome weed. Then in content possess your hearts,
Unenvious of each other's lot,For those which seem the easiest parts
Have travail which ye reckon not: And he is bravest, happiest, best,
Who, from the task within his span, Earns for himself his evening rest,
And an increase of good for man.
THE VOICES OF HISTORY.
THE poet in his vigil hears
Time flowing through the night,A mighty stream, absorbing tears,
And bearing down delight: There, resting on his bank of thought He listens, till his soul
The voices of the waves has caught,The meaning of their roll.
First, wild and wildering as the strife
Of warring dynasties:-
The threats and tramplings of the strong Beneath a brazen heaven.
The cavernous unsounded East
From two small springs that rise and blend, And leave their Latin home,
The waters East and West extend,
The ocean-power of Rome:
Voices of victories ever-won,
Of pride that will not stay, Billows that burst and perish on The shores they wear away.
Till, in a race of fierce delight,
The snows amast on many a height,
What can we hear beside the roar, What see beneath the foam,
What but the wrecks that strew the shore, And cries of falling Rome?
Nor, when a purer faith had traced Safe channels for the tide,
Did streams with Eden-lilies graced
The smooth and shining flow,
Gurgle and rage below.
If history has no other sounds,
Why should we listen more? Spirit! despise terrestrial bounds,
And seek a happier shore; Yet pause! for on thine inner ear A mystic music grows,― And mortal man shall never hear That diapason's close.
Nature awakes! a rapturous tone,
Then beauty all her subtlest chords
While knowledge, from ten thousand throats,
Proclaims a graver sway.
Well, if, by senses unbefool'd,
Those great ideas that have ruled
Yet is there music deeper still, Of fine and holy woof, Comfort and joy to all that will Keep ruder noise aloof.
A music simple as the sky,