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Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Not alone in her vast dome of glory.
But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
And with childlike, credulous affection
Emblems of our own great resurrection,
THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
I Have read, in some old marvellous tale,
That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
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, The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.
Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
The ghastly host was dead.
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;
Our ghastly fears are dead.
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR.
Yes, the Year is growing old,
Death, with frosty hand and cold,
The leaves are falling, falling,
Caw! caw! the rooks are calling;
Through woods and mountain pa
The winds, like anthems, roll;
Singing, " Pray for this poor soul;
And the hooded clouds, like friars,
And patter their doleful prayers;—
There he stands in the foul weather,
The foolish, fond Old Year,
Like weak, despised Lear,
Then comes the summer-like day,
Bids the old man rejoice!
Loveth that ever-soft voice,
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 I"
And now the sweet day is dead;
Cold in his arms it lies;
Over the glassy skies,
Then, too, the Old Year dieth,
And the forests utter a moan,
In the wilderness alone,
Then comes, with an awful roar,
Gathering and sounding on,
The wind Euroclydon,
Howl! howl! and from the forest
Would the sins that thou abhorrest,
For there shall come a mightier blast,
There shall be a darker day;
Ye voices, that arose
After the evening's close,
And whispered to my restless heart repose!
Go, breathe it in the ear
Of all who doubt and fear,
And say to them, " Be of good cheer!"
Ye sounds, so low and calm,
Go, mingle yet once more
With the perpetual roar
Of the pine-forest, dark and hoar!
Tongues of the dead, not lost,
Glimmer, as funeral lamps,
THE SEASIDE AND THE FIRESIDE.
As one who, walking in the twilight gloom,
And seeing not the forms from which they come,
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, Ye have repaid me back a thousandfold,
By every friendly sign and salutation.
Thanks for the sympathies that ye have shown!
Thanks for each kindly word, each silent token, That teaches me, when seeming most alone,
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
And are to us as if a living tongue
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, When life grows bare and tarnished with decay,
As through a leafless landscape flows a river.