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190 THE TRAGEDY OF THE LAC DE GAUBE.
There is a lake, a small, round lake,
High on the mountain's breast;
The torrent's summer rest.
May glass their peaks and scars;
The sunlight into stars.
O, gayly shone that little lake,
And nature, sternly fair,
To greet that merry pair;
How trippingly they ran!
Was all a moment's span!
"See, dearest, this primeval boat,
So quaint and rough, — I deem
Across the Stygian stream;
And you a spirit bold;
In college days of old.
"The clumsy oar! the laggard boat!
How slow we move along!
A song, my love, a song!"
So blithe and sweet a strain,
To peal it back again.
He, tranced in joy, the oar laid down,
And rose in careless pride,
The boat from side to side;
They danced a childish round,
As on the firmest ground.
One poise too much! he headlong fell, —
She, stretching out to save
Within that glittering grave;
Of music-mingled laughter;
Were there the instant after.
Her weaker head above the flood,
That quick engulfed the strong,
Waved pitifully long;
Athwart the tide to fade;
But never one to save.
Yet not alas! if Heaven revered
The freshly spoken vow, And willed that what was then made one
Should not be sundered now; If she was spared, by that sharp stroke,
Love's most unnatural doom, The future lorn and unconsoled,
The unavoided tomb!
192 AUTUMN MUSINGS.
But weep, ye very rocks, for those,
Who, on their native shore,
That shall arrive no more!
Few words are all the need; —
The course of useless speed!
The presence of the cold, dead wood,
The single mark and sign
That in the depth would linger,
Upon that faithful finger!
And if in life there lie the seed
Of real enduring being,
To perish unforeseeing,
Now time can wither never,
Is flowering fresh forever.
AUTUMN MUSINGS.— Burns.
The lazy mist hangs from the brow of the hill, Concealing the course of the dark, winding rill: How languid the scenes, late so sprightly, appear, As autumn to winter resigns the pale year!
The forests are leafless, the meadows are brown,
How long I have lived, — but how much lived in vain, —
How foolish, or worse, till our summit is gained;
ON THE SHORTNESS OF HUMAN LIFE.— WadelL*
Like as the damask rose you see,
Or like the blossom on the tree,
Or like the dainty flower of May,
Or like the morning to the day,
Or like the sun, or like the shade,
Or like the gourd which Jonah had,
E'en such is man; —whose thread is spun,
Drawn out and cut, and so is done.
Withers the rose, the blossom blasts,
The flower fades, the morning hastes,
The sun doth set, the shadow flies,
The gourd consumes, — and man, he dies!
Like to the grass that's newly sprung,
* Born about 15 Go.
Or like the bird that's here to-day,
Or like the pearled dew of May,
Or like an hour, or like a span,
Or like the singing of a swan,
E'en such is man; —-who lives by breath,
Is here, now there, in life and death.
The grass decays, the tale is ended,
The bird is flown, the dew's ascended,
The hour is short, the span not long,
The swan's near death, — man's life is done!
Like to the bubble in the brook,
SENSIBILITY. — Burns.
Sensibility, how charming, Thou, my friend, canst truly tell;
But distress, with horrors arming,
Fairest flower! behold the lily
Let the blast sweep o'er the valley,