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Then keep the softening veil in mercy drawn, Thou who canst love us, though thou read'st us true!
As on the bosom of the aerial dawn Melts in dim haze each coarse, ungentle hue.
A SONNET.— Wordsworth.
Scorn not the Sonnet; critic, you have frowned, Mindless of its just honors; with this key Shakspeare unlocked his heart; the melody Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound; A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound; Camoens soothed with it an exile's grief; The Sonnet glittered a gay myrtle-leaf Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned His visionary brow; a glow-worm lamp, It cheered mild Spenser, called from Faery-land To struggle through dark ways; and, when a damp Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand The thing became a trumpet, whence he blew Soul-animating strains, — alas, too few!
EXPERIENCE. —Jane Taylor.
How false is found, as on in life we go,
There all our hopes of happiness are placed;
But if withheld, in pity, from our prayer,
Our blasted hopes, our aims and wishes crost,
SAY, HENRY, SHOULD A MAN OP MIND.
Say, Henry, should a man of mind
Sigh o'er his brittle crust,
To fibres more robust?
Look round, with philosophic ken,
From very atoms up to men
That much of all we finest hold,
Admire with one acclaim, Is of a delicater mould,
And of a feebler frame.
Look at bent lilies as you walk,
How elegantly thin!
Proclaims the power within.
Look at the bird with glossiest wings,
That scuds, that murmurs, sips, and sings,
Look at the rose his bill invades
With eager, wanton strife! On what a slender stalk it fades
And blushes out its life.
Look at the sex, whose form may vaunt
What fine infirmities enchant,
Great minds with energetic thought
Yet at each crevice light is caught,
Then, Henry, let no man of mind Sigh o'er his brittle crust,
SONNET.-J. R. Lowell.
Through suffering and sorrow thou hast past, To show us what a woman true may be;They have not taken sympathy from thee, Nor made thee any other than thou wast;Save as some tree, which, in a sudden blast, Sheddeth those blossoms that were weakly grown Upon the air, but keepeth every one Whose strength gives warrant of good fruit at last;So thou hast shed some blooms of gayety, But never one of steadfast cheerfulness, Nor hath thy knowledge of adversity Robbed thee of any faith in happiness, But rather cleared thine inner eyes to see How many simple ways there are to bless.
THE FORERUNNERS.— R. W.Emerson.
Long I followed happy guides, I could never reach their sides. Their step is forth, and ere the day Breaks up their leaguer and away. Keen my sense, my heart was young, Right good-will my sinews strung, But no speed of mine avails To hunt upon their shining trails. On and away, their hasting feet Make the morning proud and sweet. Flowers they strew, I catch the scent, Or tone of silver instrument Leaves on the wind melodious trace, Yet I could never see their face.
On eastern hills I see their smokes Mixed with mist by distant lochs.
I met many travellers,
Who the road had surely kept,
They saw not my fine revellers,
These had crossed them while they slept.
Some had heard their fine report,
In the country or the court.
Fleetest couriers alive
Never yet could once arrive,
As they went or they returned,
At the house where these sojourned.
Sometimes their strong speed they slacken,
Though they are not overtaken;
In sleep their jubilant troop is near,
I tuneful voices overhear,
It may be in wood or waste, —
At unawares't is come and passed.