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SAMSON ON HIS BLINDNESS.
THE DEPARTURE FROM PARADISE.
FROM "SAMSON AGONISTES."
(Loss of sight, of thee I most complain ! In either hand the hastening angel caught Blind among enemies, O, worse than chains,
Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age !
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, To the subjected plain ; then disappeared. And all her various objects of delight
They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld Annulled, which might in part my grief have of Paradise, so late their happy seat, eased.
Waved over by that flaming brand ; the gate Inferior to the vilest now become
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms. Of man or worm ; the vilest here excel me :
Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them They creep, yet see ; I, dark in light, exposed
soon ; To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong, The world was all before them, where to choose Within doors or without, still as a fool,
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide. In power of others, never in my own ;
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
FROM "HENRY VIII.," ACT 111. SC. 2.
FROM “PARADISE LOST."
Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness !
This is the state of man : to-day he puts forth O UNEXPECTED stroke, worse than of death !
The tender leaves of hope ; to-morrow blossoms, llust I thus leave thee, Paradise ? thus leave
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him: Thee, native soil ! these happy walks and shades, The third day comes a frost, a killing frost ; Fit haunt of gods; where I had hope to spend,
And — when he thinks, good easy man, full surely Quiet, though sail, the respite of that day
His greatness is a ripening - nips his root, That must be mortal to us both? O flowers,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured, That never will in other climate grow,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders, My early visitation, and iny last
This many sumuners in a sea of glory; At even, which I bred up with tender hand
But far beyond my depth : my high-blown pride From the first opening bud, and gave ye names! At length broke under me ; and now has left me, Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Weary and old with service, to the mercy Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount? Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me. Thee, lastly, nuptial bower ! by me adorned Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye : With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee I feel iny heart new opened. O, how wretched How shall I part, and whither wander down
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors ! Into a lower world, to this obscure
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to, And wild ? how shall we breathe in other air That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin, Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits ?
More pangs and fears than wars or women have:
EVE TO ADAM.
WOLSEY'S ADVICE TO CROMWELL.
FROM "HENRY VIII.," ACT III. SC. 2.
WITH sorrow and heart's distress
CROMWELL, I did not think to shed a tear
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
Of me more must be heard of — say, I taught thee,
A LAMENT. Say, Wolsey — that once trod the ways of glory, And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor -- O world! O Life! O Time ! Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in ; On whose last steps I climb, A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it. Trembling at that where I had stood before · Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me. When will return the glory of your prime ? Cromwell, I charge thee, iling away ambition :
O nevermore !
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar Corruption wins not more than honesty. Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
O nevermore !
“WHAT CAN AN OLD MAN DO BUT Serve the king; and — pr’ythee, lend me in :
Spring it is cheery,
Winter is dreary, I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Crom Green leaves hang, but the brown must Aly well!
When he's forsaken, Had I but served my God with half the zeal
Withereil and shaken, I served my king, he would not in niine age
What can an old man do but die ? Have left me naked to mine enemies !
Love will not clip him,
Maids will not lip him,
Youth it is sunny,
Age has no honey, -
What can an old man do but die ? Brown, sodden fields, all desolate and bare. “The spring is late," she said, “the faithless
June it was jolly, spring,
O for its folly ! That should have come to make the meadows A dancing leg and a laughing eye! fair.
Youth may be silly,
Wisdom is chilly, “ Their sweet South left too soon, among the What can an old man do but die ?
trees The birds, bewildered, flutter to and fro;
Friends they are scanty,
Beggars are plenty,
Gold's in his clutches
(Buying him crutches !) -spring,
What can an old nan do but die? The barren fields, and shivering, naked trees. “ Thus God has dealt with me, his child," she
“I wait my spring-time, and am cold like
CATSKILL MOUNTAIN HOUSE
“To them will come the fulness of their time; Their spring, though late, will make the mead. From mountain top to base, a whispering sea
Wave after wave of greenness rolling down ows fair ; Shall I, who wait like them, like them be blessed ?
of affluent leaves through which the viewless
breeze I am his own, – doth not my Father care ?"
LOUISE CHANDLER MOULTON.
By memory of a clasp meant more than speech;
A face seen in the crowd with curve of cheek Or sweep of eyelash our woe's core can reach.
How strong is love to yearn, and yet how weak
To strive with fate: the lesson all things teach, As of the past in myriad ways they speak.
LIFE, like a romping, school-boy full of glee,
Doth bear us on his shoulders for a time:
There is no path too steep for him to climb,
In vain we murmur. “Come,” Life says, “Fair play,"
He does not let us sit down all the day. At each new step we feel the burden grow, Till our bent backs seem breaking as we go,
Watching for Death to meet us on the way.
ELLA WHEELER Wilcox.
And towering up amid the lesser throng,
In agonize demand.
Is pitiless to slay.
“Look on me, I am dead!”
MARY LOUISE RITTER.
THE LAST LEAF.
I saw him once before,
With his cane.
They say that in his prinie, Ere the pruning-knife of time
Cut him down, Not a better man was found By the crier on his round
Through the town.
But now he walks the streets,
So forlorn ;
“ They are gone."
In their bloom ; And the names he loved to hear Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.
My grandmamma has said – Poor old lady! she is dead
Long ago That he had a Roman nose, And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow.
But now his nose is thin, And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff; And a crook is in his back, And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.
I know it is a sin
At him here,
Are so queer!
In the spring,
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.
THE APPROACH OF AGE.
FROM "TALES OF THE HALL."
Sıx years had passed, and forty ere the six,
choose. In fact, I felt a languor stealing on ; The active arm, the agile hand, were gone; Small daily actions into habits grew, And new dislike to forms and fashions new. I loved my trees in order to dispose ; I numbered peaches, looked how stocks arose ; Told the same story oft, -in short, began to prose.
By the wayside, on a mossy stone,
Sat a hoary pilgrim, sadly musing ;