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The last of all the Bards was he,
Who sung of Border chivalry.
For well a day! their date was fled,
His tuneful brethren all were dead
And he neglected and oppress'd,
Wished to be with them and at rest.
No more on prancing palfrey borne,
He carolled, light as lark at morn;
No longer courted and caressed,
High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
He poured, to lord and lady gay,
The unpremeditated lay;
Old times were changed, old manners gone, A stranger filled the Stuart's throne,
The bigots of the iron time
Had called the harmless art a crime.
A wandering Harper, scorned and poor,
He begged his bread from door to door,
And tuned, to please a peasant's ear,
The harp, a king had loved to hear.
He passed where Newark's stately tower
Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower;
The minstrel gazed with wishful eye,
No humbler resting place was nigh;
With hesitating step, at last,
The embattled portal arch he passed,
Whose pond'rous grate and massy bar
Had oft rolled back the tide of war,
But never closed the iron door
Against the desolate and poor.
The duchess marked his weary pace,
His timid mien, and reverend face,
And bade her page the menials tell,
That they should tend the old man well :
For she had known adversity,
Though born in such a high degree;
In pride of power and beauty's bloom,
Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb!
THE MORAL CHANGE ANTICIPATED BY HOPE.
Hope, when I mourn with sympathising mind,
The wrongs of fate, the woes of human kind,
Thy blissful omens bid my spirit see
The boundless fields of rapture yet to be;
I watch the wheels of Nature's mazy plan,
And learn the future by the past of man.
Come bright improvement! on the car of Time,
And rule the spacious world from clime to clime
Thy handmaid arts shall every wild explore,
Trace every wave, and culture every shore.
On Erie's banks where tigers steal alone,
And the dread Indian chants a dismal song,
Where human fiends ou midnight errands walk,
And bathe in brains the murderous tomahawk.
There shall the flocks on thymy pastures stray,
And shepherds dance at summer's opening day;
Each wandering genius of the lonely glen,
Shall start to view the glittering haunts of men,
And silent watch, on woodland heights around,
The village curfew as it tolls profound.
Where barbarous hordes on Scythian mountains roam
Truth, Mercy, Freedom, yet shall find a home;
Where'er degraded nature bleeds and pines,
From Guinea's coast to Sabir's dreary mines,
Truth shall pervade the unfathomed darkness there,
And light the dreadful features of despair-
Hark! the stern captive spurns his heavy load,
And asks the image back that heaven bestowed;
Fierce in his eye, the fire of valour burns,
And as the slave departs, the man returns.
"Now, if I fall, will it be my lot
To be cast in some low and lonely spot,
To melt, and to sink unseen or forgot?
And then will my course be ended ?"
'Twas thus a feathery snow-flake said,
As down through the measureless space it strayed,
Or, as half by dalliance, half afraid,
It seemed in mid air suspended.
'O, no," said the Earth, "thou shalt not lie,
Neglected and lone, on my lap to die,
Thou pure and delicate child of the sky;
For thou wilt be safe in my keeping :
But, then, I must give thee a lovelier form;
Thou'lt not be a part of the wintry storm,
But revive when the sun-beams are yellow and warm,
And the flowers from my bosom are peeping.
"And then thou shalt have thy choice to be
Restored in the lily that decks the lea,
In the jessamine bloom, the anemone,
Or aught of thy spotless whiteness;
To melt and be cast in a glittering bead,
With pearls that the night scatters over the mead,
In the cup where the bee and the firefly feed,
Regaining thy dazzling brightness.
"Or wouldst thou return to a home in the skies,
To shine in the Iris, I'll let thee arise,
And appear in the many and glorious dyes
A pencil of sunbeams is blending.
But true fair thing, as my name is Earth,
I'll give thee a new and vernal birth,
When thou shalt recover thy primal worth,
And never regret descending!"
"Then I will drop," said the trusting flake;
"But bear in mind that the choice I make
Is not in the flowers, on the dew to awake,
Nor the mist that shall pass with the morning;
For things of thyself they expire with thee;
But those that are lent from on high, like me,
They rise and will live, from thy dust set free,
To the regions above returning.
"And if true to thy word, and just thou art,
Like the spirit that dwells in the holiest heart,
Unsullied by thee, thou will let me depart,
And return to my native heaven;
For I would be placed in the beautiful bow,
From time to time, in thy sight to glow,
So thou may'st remember the flake of snow,
By the promise that God hath given."
Whither midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue Thy solitary way
Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake or margin of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side.
There is a power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast-
The desert and illimitable air—
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned, At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere: Yet, stoop not, weary, to the welcome land Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end;
So shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given And shall not soon depart.
He who from zone to zone
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
Gently, dear mother, here
The bridge is broken near thee, and below
The waters with a rapid current flow-
Gently, and do not fear;
Lean on me, mother-plant thy staff before thee,
For she who loves thee most is watching o'er thee.
The green leaves as we pass Lay their light fingers on thee unaware, And by thy side the hazels clusters fair, And the low forest grass
Grows green and lovely where the wood paths wind, Alas, for thee, dear mother, thou art blind.