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THE BIRTH OF A NATION.
Why come they? Read it in each face,
And on each unknit brow:
And should they slumber now?
Long years of bitter, burning pain,
Of heart-corroding wo, Were theirs; and long they wore the chain,
And long endured the blow ;And soon, of all in bondage met,
Unbound shall rise each one, And, free as hill-side rivulet,
Each slumbering pulse beat on.
Hark! hark! the tones of midnight bell
The day's last moments call-
Of childhood's funeral.
O tones! beat faster, far !
As from the sepulchre.
Above that throng those notes have flown,
In silence bended low,
Told of the hearts o'erflow.
They rise—the father and the son,
The mother in her tears,
The sire of eighty years.
One shout—the loosened heart's pure gush,
One song thrills on each tongueTones like an onward river's rush,
In the night's deep stillness rung. Again, in trembling accents wild,
The husband weds the wife;
But not a slave for life
Or cower beneath the rod :
The image of his God.
Oh ! every thought the heart can know
Of more than earthly bliss,
In such an hour as this.
Shall wear a brighter charm;
With stronger heart and arm.
TO THE OLD YEAR.
Peace to thee! dying year!
Through leafless forests sere,
Peace! though we may not say,
While thou wert on thy way;
Yes! written on the heart
The links that bind him down; though we
'Twere effort vain from goading thought to fly.
Ay! 'tis a bitter thing
And self-inflicted suffering;
Methinks our life should be,
Which lighted up its darkness cheerily. But 't is not so ;—for lives, e'er lived there one, Without his sorrows 'neath the all-seeing sun ?
O, silver-headed year!
Could mortal hear,
TO THE OLD YEAR.
Thou hast seen murder done,
Murder, to stop the sun
Thou hast seen many die;
And fraught with meaning, and its eye Waxed dim and meaningless, and its young bloom Grew fit to moulder in the damp cold tomb.
And thou hast seen the maiden, With eyes more eloquent than sweetest words, And voice as musical as song of birds,
Who stood like young Spring, laden With flowers; round whom as gladly they went by, The zephyrs lingered—such hast thou seen die.
And thou hast seen the youth, Standing "like Hermes on a heaven-kissing hill,” Girt for life's journey, strong in heart and will,