Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

form,

Then if their tombstone, when they die, Like a pale, spotless shroud ; the air is stirred Be n't taught to flatter and to lie,

As by a mourner's sigh ; and on yon cloud There's nothing better will be said

That Moats so still and placidly through heaven, Than that “they've eat up all their bread, The spirits of the seasons seem to stand, Drunk up their drink, and gone to bed." Young Spring, bright Summer, Autumn's solemn

ISAAC WATTS.

And Winter with its aged locks, --and breathe,

In mournful cadences that come abroad
NEW YEAR'S EVE.

Like the far wind-harp's wild and touching wail,

A melancholy dirye o'er the dead year,
FROM " IN MEMORIAM."

Gone from the earth forever.
Ring out, will bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;

'Tis a time
The year is dying in the night;

For memory and for tears. Within the deep, Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. Still chambers of the heart, a spectre dim,

Whose tones are like the wizard's voice of Time Ring out the old, ring in the new ; Heard from the tomb of ages, points its cold

Ring, happy bells, across the snow ; And solemn finger to the beautiful
The year is going, let him go ;

And holy visions that have passed away,
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

And left no shadow of their loveliness

On the lead waste of life. That spectre lifts Ring out the grief that saps the mind,

The coflin-lid of Hope anı Joy and Love,
For those that here we see no more ;

And bending mournfully above the pale,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Sweet forms that slumber there, scatters dead Ring in redress to all mankind.

flowers Ring out a slowly dying cause

O'er what has passed to nothingness.
And ancient forms of party strife ;

The year
Ring in the nobler modes of life,

Has gone, and with it, many a glorious throng With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Of happy dreams. Its mark is on each brow,

Its shadow in each heart. In its swift course Ring out false pride in place and blood,

It waved its sceptre o'er the beautiful,
The civic slander and the spite ;

And they are not. It laid its pallid hand
Ring in the love of truth and right,

Upon the strong man, and the haughty form Ring in the common love of good.

Is fallen, and the flashing eye is dim.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

It trod the hall of revelry, where thronged
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold ;

The bright and joyous, and the tearful wail

Of stricken ones is heard where erst the song Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace.

And reckless shout resounded. Ring in the valiant man and free,

It passed o'er The larger heart, the kindlier hand ;

The battle-plain where sword and spear and

shield
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

| Flashed in the light of midday, and the strength
Of serried hosts is shivered, and the grass,
Green from the soil of carnage, waves above
The crushed and mouldering skeleton. It came,

And faded like a wreath of mist at eve;
THE CLOSING YEAR.

Yet ere it melted in the viewless air
"T is midnight's holy hour, — and silence now It heralded its millions to their home
Is brooding like a gentle spirit o'er

| In the dim land of dreams. The still and pulseless world. Hark! on the

Remorseless Time! winds

Fierce spirit of the glass and seythe ! — what The bell's deep tones are swelling, -'tis the power knell

Can stay him in his silent course, or melt
Of the departed year. No funeral train

His iron heart to pity ? On, still on,
Is sweeping past; yet, on the stream and wood, He presses, and forever. The proud biri,
With melancholy light, the moonbeams rest /The condor of the Andes, that can soar

ALFRED TENNYSON,

Through heaven's unfathomable depths, or brave He frothed his bumpers to the brim;
The fury of the northern hurricane,

A jollier year we shall not see.
And bathe his plumage in the thunder's home, But, though his eyes are waxing dim,
Furls his broad wings at nightfall, and sinks And though his foes speak ill of bim,
down

He was a friend to me.
To rest upon his inountain crag, – but Time Old year, you shall not die ;
Knows not the weight of sleep or weariness, We did so laugh and cry with you,
Ind vight's deep darkness has no chain to bind I've half a mind to die with you,
His rushing pinions.

Old year, if you must die.

Revolutions sweep
O'er earth, like troubled visions o'er the breast
Of dreamning sorrow ; cities rise and sink
Like bubbles on the water ; fiery isles
Spring blazing from the ocean, and go back
To their mysterious caverns ; mountains rear
To heaven their bald and blackened cliffs, and

He was full of joke avd jest,
But all his merry quips are o'er.
To see him die, across the waste
His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
But he 'll be dead before.

Every one for his own.
The night is starry and cold, my friend,
And the New-year, blithe and bold, my friend,
Comes up to take his own.

bow

Their tall heads to the plain ; new empires rise,
Gathering the strength of hoary centuries,
And rush down like the Alpine avalanche,
Startling the nations ; and the very stars,
Yon bright and burning blazonry of God,
Glitter awhile in their eternal depths,
And, like the Pleiads, loveliest of their train,
Shoot from tneir glorious spheres, and pass away
To darkle in the trackless void, — yet Time,
Time the tomb-builder, holds his fierce career,
Dark, stern, all-pitiless, and pauses not
Amid the mighty wrecks that strew his path
To sit and muse, like other conquerors,
Upon the fearful ruin he has wrought.

How hard he breathes ! over the snow
I heard just now the crowing cock.
The shadows flicker to and fro :
The cricket chirps : the light burns low :
'Tis nearly twelve o'clock.

Shake hands before you die.
Old year, we'll dearly rue for you :
What is it we can do for you?
Speak out before you die.

GEORGE DENISON PRENTICE.

His face is growing sharp and thin.
Alack ! our friend is gone.
Close up his eyes : tie up his chin :
Step from the corpse, and let him in
That standeth there alone,

And waiteth at the door.
There's a new foot on the floor, my friend,
And a new face at the door, my friend,
A new face at the door.

THE DEATH OF THE OLD YEAR.

ALFRED TENXYSON.

Full knec-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing :
Toll ye the church-bell sad and slow,
And tread softly and speak low,
For the old year lies a-dying.

Old year, you must not die ;
You came to us so readily,
You lived with us so steadily,
Old year, you shall not die.

THE APPROACH OF AGE.

SONNET XII.

He lieth still: he doth not move:
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend, and a true true-love,
And the New year will take 'em away.

Old year, you must not go ;
So long as you have been with us,
Such joy as you have seen with us,
Old year, you shall not go.

WHEN I do count the clock that telis the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silvered o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with wbite and bristly beard ;
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake

[blocks in formation]

Going - this old, old life ;

Beautiful world, farewell !
TU-MORROW.

Forest and meadow ! river and hill !
FROM “IRENE."

Ring ye a loving knell

O'er us! To-MORROW's action ! can that hoary wisdom,

Coming — a nobler life; Borne down with years, still doat upon to-morrow !

Coming – a better land ; The fatal mistress of the young, the lazy,

Coming - a long, long, nightless day; The coward and the fool, condemned to lose

Coming — the grand, grand An useless life in waiting for to-morrow,

Chorus ! To gaze with longing eyes upon to-morrow,

EDWARD A. JENKS.
Till interposing death destroys the prospect.
Strange that this general fraud from day to day
Should fill the world with wretches, undetected !

THE FOOLISH VIRGINS.
The soldier, laboring through a winter's march,
Still sees to-morrow drest in robes of triumph ;

FROM "IDYLS OF THE KING."
Still to the lover's long-expecting arms

The Queen looked up, and said, To-morrow brings the visionary bride.

“O maiden, if indeed you list to sing, But thou, too old to bear another cheat,

Sing, and unbind my heart, that I may weep." Learn that the present hour alone is man's. Whereat full willingly sang the little maid :

SABIUFL JOHNSON.

“ Late, late, so late! and dark the night and

chill! GOING AND COMING,

Late, late, so late! but we can enter still.

Too late, too late! Ye cannot enter now.
GOING -- the great round Sun,
Dragging the captive Day

“No light had we : for that we do repent ; Over behind the frowning hill,

And learning this, the bridegroom will relent Over beyond the bay, —

Too late, too late! Ya cannot enter now.

“No light; so late! and dark and chill the

Another, more benign, night!

Drew out that hair of mine, 0, let us in, that we may find the light!

And in her own dark hair Too late, too late! Ye cannot enter now.

Pretended she had found

That one, and twirled it round. -“Have we not heard the bridegroom is so sweet? | Fair as she was, she never was so fair. 0, let us in, though late, to kiss his feet !

WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR. No, no, too late! Ye cannot enter now."

So sang the novice, while full passionately,

GROWING GRAY.
Her head upon her hands, wept the sad Queen. "On a l'age de son cæur." – A. D'HOUDETOT.

ALFRED TENNYSON.

A LITTLE more toward the light.
Me miserum. Here's one that's white,

And one that 's turning;

Adieu to song and “ salad days."
OLD AGE AND DEATH.

My Muse, let's go at once to Jay's
FROM "VERSES UPON HIS DIVINE POESY."

And order mourning.
The seas are quiet when the winds give o'er ;

We must reform our rhymes, my dear, So calm are we when passions are no more.

| Renounce the gay for the severe, For then we know how vain it was to boast Of fleeting things, too certain to be lost.

Be grave, not witty ; Clouds of affection from our younger eyes

We have no more the right to find

That Pyrrha's hair is neatly twined, Conceal that emptiness which age descries.

That Chloe's pretty. The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed, Young Love's for us a farce that's played ; Lets in new light through chinks that time has Light canzonet and serenade made :

No more may tempt us ; Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,

Gray hairs but ill accord with dreams; As they draw near to their eternal home.

From aught but sour didactic themes Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,

Our years exempt us. That stand upon the threshold of the new.

EDMUND WALLER.

A la bonne heure !You fancy so?
You think for one white streak we grow

At once satiric?
THE ONE GRAY HAIR.

A fiddlestick! Each hair 's a string

To which our graybeard Muse shal! sing
The wisest of the wise

A younger lyric.
Listen to pretty lies,
And love to hear them told ;

Our heart's still sound. Shall “ cakes and ale"
Doubt not that Solomon

| Grow rare to youth because we rail
Listened to many a one, --

At school-boy dishes ?
Some in his youth, and more when he grew old. Perish the thought! "T is ours to sing,

Though neither Time nor Tide can bring
I never sat among

Belief with wishes.
The choir of Wisdom's song,

But pretty lies loved I
As much as any king, —

TOO LATE.
When youth was on the wing,

“Ah! si la jeunesse savait - si la vieillesse pouvait !" Aud (must it then be told ?) when youth had quite gone by.

Tuene sat an old man on a rock,

And unceasing bewailed him of Fate, -
Alas! and I have not

That concern where we all must take stock,
The pleasant hour forgot,

Though our vote has no hearing or weight; When one pert lady said,

And the old mau sang him an old, old song, “O Landor! I am quite

Never sang voice so clear and strong
Bewildered with affright;

That it could drown the old man's long,
I see (sit quiet now!) a white hair on your head !" For he sang the song "Too late ! too late!"

AUSTIN DOBSON.

“When we want, we have for our pains

THE THREE WARNINGS. The promise that if we but wait Till the want has burned out of our brains, The tree of deepest root is found Every means shall be present to sate ;

Least willing still to quit the ground ; While we send for the napkin the soup gets 'Twas therefore said by ancient sages, cold,

That love of life increased with years While the bonnet is trimming the face grows So much, that in our latter stages, old,

When pains grow sharp and sickness rages, When we've matched our buttons the pat- / The greatest love of life appears. tern is sold,

This great affection to believe,
And everything comes too late - too late! Which all confess, but few perceive,

If old assertions can't prevail, “When strawberries seemed like red heavens,

| Be pleased to hear a modern tale. Terrapin stew a wild dream. When my brain was at sixes and sevens, When sports went round, and all were gay, If my mother had “folks' and ice-cream, On neighbor Doilson's wedding-day, Then I gazed with a lickerish hunger

Death called aside the jocund groom At the restaurant man and fruit-monger

With him into another room, But 0, how I wished I were younger

And, looking grave, “ You must," says he, When the goodies all came in a stream - “Quit your sweet bride, and come with me." in a stream!

“With you ! and quit my Susan's side? With you!” the hapless husband cried ;

“Young as I am, 't is monstrous haril ! “I've a splendid blood-horse, and -- a liver That it jars into torture to trot;

Besides, in truth, I'm not prepared : My row-boat's the gein of the river, -

My thoughts on other matters go ;
Gout makes every knuckle a knot !

This is my wedding-day, you know."
I can buy boundless credits on Paris and
Rome,

What more he urged I have not heard,
But no palate for menus, no eyes for a dome His reasons could not well be stronger ;
Those belonged to the youth who must tarry So Death the poor delinquent spared,
at home,

And left to live a little longer.
When no home but an attic he'd got - ; Yet calling up a serious look,
he'd got !

His hour-glass trembled while he spoke

“ Neighbor," he said, “farewell ! no more “How I longed, in that lonest of garrets,

Shall Death disturb your mirthful hour ; Where the tiles baked my brains all July,

And further, to avoid all blame

Of cruelty upon my name,
For ground to grow two pecks of carrots,

To give you time for preparation,
Two pigs of my own in a sty, .
A rosebush — a little thatched cottage -

And fit you for your future station,

| Three several warnings you shall have, Two spoons — love - a basin of pottage ! —

Before you 're summoned to the grave;
Now in freestone I sit- and my dotage -
With a woman's chair empty close by ---

Willing for once I 'll quit my prey,

And grant a kind reprieve, close by!

In hopes you 'll have no more to say,

| But when I call again this way, “Ah! now, though I sit on a rock,

Well pleased the world will leave." I have shared one seat with the great ;

To these conditions both consented, ( have sat - knowing naught of the clock

And parted perfectly contented.
On love's high throne of state ;
But the lips that kissed, and the arms that

What next the hero of our tale befell,
caressed,

How long he lived, how wise, how well, To a mouth grown stern with delay were

How roundly he pursued his course, pressed, And circled a breast that their clasp had

And smoked his pipe, and stroked his horse,

The willing muse shall tell :
blessed

He chaffered then, he bought and sold,
Had they only not come too late – too

00 Nor once perceived his growing old,
late !"

FITZ HUGH LUDLOW. | Nor thought of Death as near :

« VorigeDoorgaan »