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WHEN I survey the bright
So rich with jewels hung, that night
Doth like an Ethiop bride appear,
My soul her wings doth spread,
And heavenward flies,
The Almighty's mysteries to read
In the large volumes of the skies.
For the bright firmament
Shoots forth no flame
So silent, but is eloquent
In speaking the Creator's name.
No unregarded star
Contracts its light
Into so small a character
Removed far from our human sight,
But, if we steadfast look,
We shall discern
In it, as in some holy book,
How man may heavenly knowledge learn.
THE HOUR OF PRAYER.
CHILD, amidst the flowers at play,
While the red light fades away ;
Mother, with thine earnest eye,
Ever following silently ;
Father, by the breeze of eve,
Call’d thy harvest work to leave-
Pray : ere yet the dark hours be,
Lift the heart and bend the knee !
Traveller, in the stranger's land,
Far from thine own household band;
Mourner, haunted by the tone
Of a voice from this world gone ;
Captive, in whose narrow cell
Sunshine hath not leave to dwell;
Sailor, on the darkening sea,
Lift the heart and bend the knee.
Warrior, that from battle won,
Breathest now at set of sun;
Woman, o'er the lowly slain
Weeping on his burial plain :
Ye that triumph, ye that sigh,
Kindred by one holy tie,
Heaven's first star alike ye see-
Lift the heart and bend the knee.
That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
When heaven and earth shall pass away,
shall be the sinner's stay?
How shall he meet that dreadful day?
When, shrivelling like a parched scroll,
The flaming heavens together roll;
When louder yet, and yet more dread,
Swells the high trump that wakes the dead.
Oh! on that day, that wrathful day,
When man to judgment wakes from clay,
Be Thou the trembling sinner's stay,
Though heaven and earth shall pass away!
How many thousand of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep !Sleep, gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness ?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber;
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lulld with sounds of sweetest melody;
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile,
In loathsome beds; and leav’st the kingly couch,
A watch-case, or a common 'larum-bell ?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge,
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafʼning clamours in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes ?
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude ;
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king ? Then, happy low, lie down !
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS.
It was the schooner Hesperus
That sail'd the wintry sea ;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter
To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds
in the month of May.
The skipper be stood beside the belm;
His pipe was in his mouth ; And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now west, now south.
Then up and spake an old sailor,
Had sail'd the Spanish main, “I pray thee put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.
Last night the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see !"
The skipper he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laugh'd he.