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I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
Beleaguer the human soul.
Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Portentous through the night.
Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice, nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
But the rushing of Life's wave.
And, when the solemn and deep church-bell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The shadows sweep away.
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled; Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING
Yes, the Year is growing ohtl
The leaves are falling, falling,
Solemnly and slow;
A sound of woe!
Through woods and mountain passes
The winds, like anthems, roll; They are chanting solemn masses, Singing; “ Pray for this poor soul,
And the hooded clouds, like friars,
Tell their beads in drops of rain, And patter their doleful prayers ! But their prayers are all in vain,
All in vain!
There he stands in the foul weather,
The foolish, fond Old Year, Crowned with wild flowers and with heather, Like weak, despised Lear,
A king,-a king!
Then comes the summer-like day,
Bids the old man rejoice!
Gentle and low.
To the crimson woods he saith,
To the voice gentle and low Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath, Pray do not mock me so!
Do not laugh at me!”
And now the sweet day is dead;
Cold in his arms it lies;
No mist or stain !
Then, too, the Old Year dieth,
And the forests utter a moan, Like the voice of one who crieth In the wilderness alone,
“ Vex not his ghost!”
Then comes, with an awful roar,
Gathering and sounding on, The storm-wind from Labrador, The wind Euroclydon,
Howl! howl! and from the forest
Sweep the red leaves away! Would, the sins that thou abhorrest, O Soul! could thus decay,
And be swept away!
For there shall come a mightier blast,
There shall be a darker day;
[These poems were written for the most part during my college
life, and all of them before the age of nineteen. Some have found their way into schools, and seem to be successful. Others lead a vagabond and precarious existence in the corners of newspapers; or have changed their names and run away to seek their fortunes beyond the sea. I say, with the Bishop of Avranches, on a similar occasion; "I cannot be displeased to see these children of mine which I have neg. lected, and almost exposed, brought from their wanderings in lunes and alleys, and safely lodged, in order to go forth into ule world together in a more decorous garb."]