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A monument; where every flake that falls
Gives adamantine firmness to the walls.
The sun beholds no mirror in his race,
That shews a brighter image of his face;
The stars, in their nocturnal vigils, rest
Like signal fires on its illumined crest;
The gliding moon around the ramparts wheels,
And all its magic lights and shades reveals;
Beneath, the tide with idle fury raves
To undermine it through a thousand caves;
Rent from its roof, though thundering fragments oft
Plunge to the gulph, immoveable aloft,
From age to age, in air, o'er sea, on land,
Its turrets heighten and its piers expand.
Midnight hath told his hour; the moon, yet young, Hangs in the argent west her bow unstrung; Larger and fairer, as her lustre fades,
Sparkle the stars amidst the deepening shades;
Jewels more rich than night's regalia gem
The distant Ice-Blink's spangled diadem;
Like a new morn from orient darkness, there
Phosphoric splendours kindle in mid air,
As though from heaven's self-opening portals came
Legions of spirits in an orb of flame,
-Flame, that from every point an arrow sends,
Far as the concave firmament extends:
Spun with the tissue of a million lines,
Glistening like gossamer the welkin shines:
The constellations in their pride look pale
Through the quick trembling brilliance of that veil :
Then suddenly converged, the meteors rush
O'er the wide south; one deep vermillion blush
O'erspreads Orion glaring on the flood,
And rabid Sirius foams through fire and blood;
Again the circuit of the pole they range,
Motion and figure every moment change,
Through all the colours of the rainbow run,
Or blaze like wrecks of a dissolving sun;
Wide ether burns with glory, conflict, flight,
And the glad ocean dances in the light.
GOD is our refuge and defence,
In trouble or unfailing aid;
Secure in his omnipotence,
What foe can make our soul afraid?
Yea, though the earth's foundations rock,
And mountains down the gulf be hurl'd,
His people smile amid the shock,
They look beyond this transient world.
There is a river pure and bright,
Whose streams make glad the heavenly plains; Where, in eternity of light,
The city of our God remains.
Built by the word of his command,
With his unclouded presence bless'd,
Firm as his throne the bulwarks stand;
There is our home, our hope, our rest.
Thither let fervent faith aspire;
Our treasure and our hearts be there; O for a seraph's wing of fire!
No, on the mightier wings of prayer,
We reach at once that last retreat,
And, ranged among the ransom'd throng, Fall with the elders at his feet,
Whose name alone inspires their song.
Ah, soon, how soon! our spirits droop;
Unwont the air of heaven to breathe:
Yet God in very deed will stoop,
And dwell Himself with men beneath.
Come to thy living temples, then,
As in the ancient times appear;
Let earth be paradise again,
And man, O God, thine image here.
THROUGH shades and solitudes profound,
The fainting traveller wends his way;
Bewildering meteors glare around,
And tempt his wandering feet astray.
Welcome, thrice welcome to his eye,
The sudden moon's inspiring light,
When forth she sallies through the sky,
The guardian angel of the night.
Thus, mortals blind and weak below,
Pursue the phantom bliss in vain;
The world's a wilderness of wo,
And life 's a pilgrimage of pain!
Till mild Religion from above
Descends, a sweet engaging form,
The messenger of heavenly love,
The bow of promise 'mid the storm.
Ambition, pride, revenge, depart,
And folly flies her chastening rod;
She makes the humble, contrite heart
A temple of the living God.
Beyond the narrow vale of time,
Where bright celestial ages roll,
To scenes eternal, scenes sublime,
She points the way and leads the soul.
At her approach, the grave appears
The gate of paradise restored;
Her voice the watching cherub hears,
And drops his double flaming sword.
Baptized with her renewing fire,
May we the crown of glory gain;
Rise when the hosts of heaven expire,
And reign with God, forever reign!
MRS BARBAULD has adorned the circle of English literature by her writings, hardly less than she has that of private life by her sincere piety and her many domestic virtues. Her poetry is pleasing in its character and excellent in its influence. It is full of good sense and plain benevolence of feeling, without being destitute of fancy. Some of her pieces display a delightful humour, and some are truly pathetic.
THE Muses are turned gossips; they have lost
The buskined step, and clear high-sounding phrase,
Language of gods. Come then, domestic Muse,
In slipshod measure loosely prattling on
Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream,
Or drowning flies, or shoe lost in the mire
By little whimpering boy, with rueful face;
Come, Muse, and sing the dreaded Washing-Day.
Ye who beneath the yoke of wedlock bend,
With bowed soul, full well ye ken the day
Which week, smooth sliding after week, brings on
Too soon ;-for to that day nor peace belongs
Nor comfort;-ere the first gray streak of dawn,
The red-armed washers come and chase repose.
Nor pleasant smile, nor quaint device of mirth,
E'er visited that day: the very cat,
From the wet kitchen scared and reeking hearth,
Visits the parlour, an unwonted guest.
The silent breakfast-meal is soon despatched;
Uninterrupted, save by anxious looks
Cast at the lowering sky, if sky should lower.
From that last evil, O preserve us, heavens!
For should the skies pour down, adieu to all
Remains of quiet: then expect to hear
Of sad disasters, dirt and gravel stains
Hard to efface, and loaded lines at once
Snapped short, and linen-horse by dog thrown down, And all the petty miseries of life.
Saints have been calm while stretched upon the rack, And Guatimozin smiled on burning coals;
But never yet did housewife notable
Greet with a smile a rainy washing-day.
-But grant the welkin fair, require not thou Who call'st thyself perchance the master there, Or study swept, or nicely dusted coat, Or usual 'tendance ;-ask not, indiscreet, Thy stockings mended, though the yawning rents Gape wide as Erebus; nor hope to find Some snug recess impervious: shouldst thou try The 'customed garden walks, thine eye shall rue The budding fragrance of thy tender shrubs, Myrtle or rose, all crushed beneath the weight Of coarse checked apron,-with impatient hand Twitched off when showers impend: or crossing lines Shall mar thy musings, as the wet cold sheet Flaps in thy face abrupt. Woe to the friend Whose evil stars have urged him forth to claim On such a day the hospitable rites! Looks, blank at best, and stinted courtesy, Shall he receive. Vainly he feeds his hopes With dinner of roast chickens, savoury pie, Or tart or pudding :-pudding he nor tart That day shall eat; nor, though the husband try, Mending what can't be helped, to kindle mirth
From cheer deficient, shall his consort's brow
Clear up propitious:-the unlucky guest
In silence dines, and early slinks away.
I well remember when a child, the awe
This day struck into me; for then the maids,
I scarce knew why, looked cross, and drove me from them:
Nor soft caress could I obtain, nor hope
Usual indulgences; jelly or creams,
Relic of costly suppers, and set by
For me their petted one; or buttered toast,
When butter was forbid; or thrilling tale
Of ghost or witch, or murder-so I went
And sheltered me beside the parlour fire:
There my dear grandmother, eldest of forms,
T'ended the little ones, and watched from harm,
Anxiously fond, though oft her spectacles
With elfin cunning hid, and oft the pins
Drawn from her ravelled stockings, might have soured
One less indulgent.—
At intervals my mother's voice was heard,
Urging despatch: briskly the work went on,
All hands employed to wash, to rinse, to wring,
To fold, and starch, and clap, and iron and plait.
Then would I sit me down and ponder much
Why washings were. Sometimes through hollow bowl
Of pipe amused we blew, and sent aloft
The floating bubbles; little dreaming then
To see, Mongolfier, thy silken ball
Ride buoyant through the clouds-so near approach
The sports of children and the toils of men.
Earth, air, and sky, and ocean, hath its bubbles,
And verse is one of them-this most of all.
PURE spirit! O where art thou now?
O whisper to my soul!
O let some soothing thought of thee,
This bitter grief control!
"T is not for thee the tears I shed,
Thy sufferings now are o'er;
The sea is calm, the tempest past,
On that eternal shore.
No more the storms that wreck thy peace,
Shall tear that gentle breast;