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Dear solitude, the soul's best friend, That man acquainted with himself dost make, And all his Maker's wonders to intend,
With thee I here converse at will,
And would be glad to do so still, For it is thou alone that keep'st the soul awake.
How calm and quiet a delight
Is it, alone,
By none offended, and offending none ! ! To walk, ride, sit, or sleep at one's own ease; And, pleasing a man's self, none other to displease.
Lord ! would men let me alone,
Should I think myself to be, —
Live but undisturbed and free! Here in this despised recess,
Would I, maugre winter's cold And the summer's worst excess,
Try to live out to sixty full years old ; And, all the while,
Without an envious eye
O my beloved nymph, fair Dove,
Upon thy flowery banks to lie,
Playing at liberty, And with my angle upon them
The all of treachery I ever learned, industriously to try!
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK
DURING HIS SOLITARY ABODE IN THE ISLAND OF JUAN FERNANDEZ.
I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute ; From the centre all round to the sen,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute. O Solitude ! where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face? Better dwell in the midst of alarms
Than reign in this horrible place.
Such streams Rome's yellow Tiber cannot show,
Are both too mean,
To vie priority;
I am out of humanity's reach ;
I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech,
I start at the sound of my own. The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference see ; They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.
O my beloved rocks, that rise
How dearly do I love,
In the artificial night
Have I taken, do I take !
In your recesses' friendly shade,
All my sorrows open laid, And my most secret woes intrusted to your
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestowed upon man! 0, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again ! My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth, Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheered by the sallies of youth.
Religion ! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word ! More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford ; But the sound of the church-going bell
These valleys and rocks never heard, Never sighed at the sound of a knell,
Or smiled when a Sabbath appeared.
The deeds we do, the words we say,
We count them ever past ;
But they shall last, —
And we shall meet. .
Ye winds that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore
Of a land I shall visit no more !
A wish or a thought after me? 0, tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see. How fleet is a glance of the mind !
Compared with the speed of its flight, The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light. When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there ; But, alas! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair. But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair ; Even here is a season of rest,
And I to my cabin repair. There's mercy in every place,
And mercy - encouraging thought !Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.
THE GOOD GREAT MAN. And there are some like springs, that bubbling How seldom, friend, a good great man inherits
burst Honor and wealth, with all his worth and pains!
To follow dusty ways, It seems a story from the world of spirits And run with offered cup to quench his thirst When any man obtains that which he merits,
i Where the tired traveller strays ; Or any merits that which he obtains.
That never ask the meadows if they want
What is their joy to give : For shame, my friend ! renounce this idle strain! Unasked, their lives to other life they grant, What wouldst thou have a good great man obtain? So self-bestowed they live! Wealth, title, dignity, a golden chain, Or heap of corses which his sword hath slain ? And One is like the ocean, deep and wide, Goodness and greatness are not means, but ends. Wherein all waters fall ; Hath he not always treasures, always friends, -- TT
That girdles the broail earth, and draws the tide, The good great man ? Three treasures,
Feeding and bearing all ;
love, That broods the mists, that sends the clouds and light,
abroad, And calm thoughts, equable as infant's breath;
That takes, again to give ; And three fast friends, more sure than day or
nan day or Even the great and loving heart of God, night, Himself, his Maker, and the angel Death.
Whereby all love doth live.
CAROLINE S. SPENCER. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.
But for a thousand years
Their fruit appears, In weeds that mar the land,
Or healthful store.
THE SEASIDE WELL.
Backward had drawn its wave,
To wild flowers gave.
Freshly it sparkled in the sun's bright look, | Above my head the waves may come and go, And mid its pebbles strayed,
Long brood the deluge dire, As if it thought to join a happy brook
| But life lies hidden in the depths below In some green glade.
Till waves retire, -
Till death, that reigns with overflowing flood, But soon the heavy sea's resistless swell
At length withdraw its sway,
And life rise sparkling in the sight of God
An endless day.
Or life in the grave's gloom,
THE MEN OF OLD.
I KNOW not that the men of old
Were better than men now,
Of heart more kind, of hand more bold, Withdrew its wave ;
Of more ingenuous brow ;
I heed not those who pine for force
A ghost of time to raise,
As if they thus could check the course
Of these appointed days.
Still it is true, and over-true,
That I delight to close
This book of life self-wise and new,
And let my thoughts repose
On all that humble happiness
The world has since foregone, --
The daylight of contentedness
That on those faces shone !
With rights, though not too closely scanned,
With will by no reverse unmanned,
With pulse of even tone,
They from to-day, and from to-night,
Than yesterday and yesternight
Had proffered them before.
To them was life a simple art
Of duties to be done,
A game where each man took his part,
A race where all must run ;
A battle whose great scheme and scope
They little cared to know,
Content, as men-at-arms, to cope
Each with his fronting foe.
Man now his virtue's diadem
Puts on, and proudly wears , -
Like instincts unawares ;
With tasks of every day
As noble boys at play.
And what if Nature's fearful wound
They did not probe and bare,
To watch the misery there, -
Their charities more free, Not conscious what mere drops they cast
Into the evil sea.
| A Maiden stands by the rose-bush fair,
The dewy blossoms perfume the air ;
And the years glide by.
A Mother kneels by the rose-bush fair, Soft sigh the leaves in the evening air ; Sorrowing thoughts of the past arise', And tears of anguish bedim her eyes.
And the years glide by.
A man's best things are nearest him,
Lie close about his feet;
That we are sick to greet;
We struggle and aspire, --
The air of fresh desire.
Advance with hopeful cheer, --
As chill as they are clear ;
The loftier that ye go,
RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES, LORD HOUGHTON.
Naked and lone stands the rose-bush fair,
And the years glide hy.
From the German, by WILLIAM W. CALDWELL.
HISTORY OF A LIFE. Day dawned ; -- within a curtained room, Filled to faintness with perfume, A lady lay at point of doom. Day closed ; -- a Child had seen the light : But, for the lady fair and bright, She rested in undreaming night. Spring rose ; - the lady's grave was green ; And near it, oftentimes, was seen A gentle Boy with thoughtful mien. Years Red ; - he wore a manly face, And struggled in the world's rough race, And wou at last a lofty place. And then he died ! Behold before ye Humanity's poor sum and story; Life, — Death, - and all that is of Glory.
BRYAN WALLER PROCTER (Barry Cornwall).
LIFE. I MADE a posie, while the day ran by : “Here will I smell my remnant out, and tie
My life within this band.” But Time did beckon to the flowers, and they By noon most cunningly did steal away,
And withered in my hand. My hand was next to them, and then my heart ; I took, without more thinking, in good part
Time's gentle admonition ; Who did so sweetly death's sad taste convey, Making my minde to smell my fatall day,
Yet sug'ring the suspicion. Farewell, dear flowers ! sweetly your time ye
spent ; Fit, while ye lived, for smell or ornament,
Aud after death for cures. I follow straight without complaints or grief; Since, if my scent be good, I care not if
It be as short as yours.
THE RIVER OF LIFE.
The more we live, more brief appear
Our life's succeeding stages ;
And years like passing ages.
THE ROSE-BUSH. A CHILD sleeps under a rose-bush fair, The buds swell out in the soft May air ; Sweetly it rests, and on dream-wings flies To play with the angels in Paradise.
And the years glide by.
The gladsome current of our youth,
Ere passion yet disorders, Steals lingering like a river smooth
Along its grassy borders,