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Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;
Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink; Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone, But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;
In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers ;
In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.
And with childlike, credulous affection
We behold their tender buds expand; Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.
THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
Some legend strange and vague,
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.
Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
The army of the dead.
White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
As clouds with clouds embrace.
But, when the old cathedral-bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
On the alarmed air.
Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
The ghastly host was dead.
That strange and mystic scroll,
Beleaguer the human soul.
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.'
Entreats the soul to pray,
The shadows sweep away.
The spectral camp is fled ;
Our ghastly fears are dead.
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR.
Yes, the Year is growing old,
And his eye is pale and bleared!
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!
And be swept away!
There shall be a darker day;
Ye voices, that arose
Ye sounds, so low and calm,
Go, mingle yet once more
Tongues of the dead, not lost,
Glimmer, as funeral lamps,
THE SEASIDE AND THE FIRESIDE.
As one who, walking in the twilight gloom,
Hears round about him voices as it darkens, And seeing not the forms from which they come,
Pauses from time to time, and turns and hearkens; So walking here in twilight, O my friends!
I hear your voices, softened by the distance, And pause, and turn to listen, as each sends
His words of friendship, comfort, and assistance.
If any thought of mine, or sung or told,
Has ever given delight or consolation,
By every friendly sign and salutation.
Thanks for each kindly word, each silent token,
Friends are around us, though no word be spoken. Kind messages, that pass from land to land;
Kind letters, that betray the heart's deep history, In which we feel the pressure of a hand,
One touch of fire,—and all the rest is mystery! The pleasant books, that silently among
Our household treasures take familiar places, And are to us as if a living tongue
Spake from the printed leaves or pictured faces ! Perhaps on earth I never shall behold,
With eye of sense, your outward form and semblance; Therefore to me ye never will grow old,
But live for ever young in my remembrance.
Never grow old, nor change, nor pass away!
Your gentle voices will flow on for ever,
As through a leafless landscape flows a river.