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220 Ode; To Duty.

And oft, when in my heart was heard

Thy timely mandate, I deferred

The task, in smoother walks to stray;

But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may.

Through no disturbance of my soul,

Or strong compunction in me wrought,

I supplicate for thy control;

But in the quietness of thought:

Me this unchartered freedom tires;

I feel the weight of chance desires:

My hopes no more must change their name,

I long for a repose that ever is the same.

Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
The Godhead's most benignant grace;
Nor know we anything so fair
As is the smile upon thy face;
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds;
And Fragrance in thy footing treads;
Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;
And the most ancient heavens, through thee, are
fresh and strong.

To humbler functions, awful Power!

I call thee; I myself commend

Unto thy guidance, from this hour;

O, let my weakness have an end!

Give unto me, made lowly, wise,

The spirit of self-sacrifice;

The confidence of reason give;

And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live! FAMILIAR LOYE.—Milnes.

We read together, reading the same book,

Our heads bent forward in a half embrace,

So that each shade that either spirit took

Was straight reflected in the other's face;

We read, not silent, nor aloud, but each

Followed the eye that passed the page along,

With a low murmuring sound, that was not speech,

Yet with so much monotony

In its half slumbering harmony,

You might not call it song;

More like a bee, that in the noon rejoices,
Than any customed mood of human voices.
Then if some wayward or disputed sense
Made cease a while that music, and brought on
A strife of gracious-worded difference,
Too light to hurt our souls' dear unison,
We had experience of a blissful state,
In which our powers of thought stood separate,
Each, in its own high freedom, set apart,
But both close folded in one loving heart;
So that we seemed, without conceit, to be
Both one and two in our identity.

DEATH'S FINAL CONQUEST. — Shirley.

The glories of our birth and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;

There is no armor against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings.

222 THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS.

Sceptre and crown

Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor, crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath,
When they pale captives creep to Death.

The garlands wither on your brow;

Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon Death's purple altar now See where the victor victim bleeds;
All hands must come
To the cold tomb,
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.

THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS. Bloomfield.

Come, friend, I '11 turn thee up again;
Companion of the lonely hour!
Spring thirty times hath fed with rain
And clothed with leaves my humble bower,

Since thou hast stood,

In frame of wood,
On chest or window by my side;
At every birth still thou wert near,
Still spoke thine admonitions clear,—

And when my husband died.

I Ve often watched thy streaming sand,
And seen the growing mountain rise,
And often found life's hopes to stand
On props as weak in Wisdom's eyes;

Its conic crown

Still sliding down, Again heaped up, then down again; The sand above more hollow grew, Like days and years still filtering through,

And mingling joy and pain.

While thus I spin and sometimes sing, (For now and then my heart will glow,) Thou measur'st Time's expanding wing; By thee the noontide hour I know;

Though silent thou,

Still shalt thou flow,
And jog along thy destined way;
But when I glean the sultry fields,
When earth her yellow harvest yields,

Thou gett'st a holiday.

Steady as truth, on either end
Thy daily task performing well,
Thou 'rt Meditation's constant friend,
And strik'st the heart without a bell:

Come, lovely May!

Thy lengthened day Shall gild once more my native plain; Curl inward here, sweet woodbine-flower; Companion of the lonely hour,

I '11 turn thee up again.

224 TiiE MEN OF OLD.

HYMN TO DIANA. Jonson, born in 1574.

Qiteene, and huntrcsse, chaste, and faire5
Now the sun is laid to sleepe,
Seated, in thy silver chaire,
State in wonted manner keepe:
Hesperus intreats thy light,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy impious shade
Dare itself to interpose:
Cynthia's shining orbe was made
Heaven to cheere, when day did close;
Bless us, then, with wished sight,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

Lay thy bow of pearle apart,
And thy cristall-shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short soever:
Thou that mak'st a day of night,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

THE MEN OP OLD. — Milnes.

I know not that the men of old

Were better than men now,

Of heart more kind, of hand more bold,

Of more ingenuous brow;

I heed not those who pine perforce

A ghost of Time to raise,

As if they could check the course

Of these appointed days.

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