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The winds of autumn came over the woods
As the sun stole out from their solitudes,
The moss was white on the maple's trunk,
And dead from its arms the pale vine shrunk,
And ripened the mellow fruit hung, and red,
Where the tree's wither'd leaves around it shed.
The foot of the reaper moved slow on the lawn,
And the sickle cut down the yellow corn, -
The mower sung loud by the meadow side,
Where the mists of evening were spreading wide,
And the voice of the herdsman came up the lea,
And the dance went round by the greenwood tree.
Then the hunter turned away from that scene,
Where the home of his fathers once had been,
And heard by the distant and measured stroke,
That the woodman hew'd down the giant oak,
And burning thoughts flash'd over his mind
Of the white man's faith and love unkind.
The moon of the harvest grew high and bright,
As her golden horn pierced the cloud of white,
A footstep was heard in the rustling brake,
Where the beech overshadowed the misty lake,
And a mourning voice and a plunge from shore ;
And the hunter was seen on the hills no more.
When years had pass'd on, by that still lake-side
The fisher look'd down through the silver tide,
And there, on the smooth yellow sand display'd,
A skeleton wasted and white was laid,
And t' was seen, as the waters moved deep and slow
That the hand was still grasping a hunter's bow.
When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the white-thorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.
O’er the base upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sun-beams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.
On the gray maple's crusted bark
Its tender shoots the hoar-frost nips;
Whilst in the frozen fountain-hark!-
His piercing beak the bittern dips.
When, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.
Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.
Alas how chang'd from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay;
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!
But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathered winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds, pipe loud.
Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song ;
I hear it in the opening year
I listen, and it cheers me long.
Gay, guiltless pair,
What seek ye from the fields of heaven?
Ye have no need of
prayer, Ye have no sins to be forgiven.
Why perch ye here,
Where mortals to their Maker bend?
Can your pure spirits fear
The God ye never could offend ?
Ye never knew
The crimes for which we come to weep:
Penance is not for you,
Blest wanderers of the upper deep.
To you 't is given
To wake sweet nature's untaught lays;
Beneath the arch of heaven
To chirp away a life of praise.
Then spread each wing,
Far, far above, o'er lakes and lands,
And join the choirs that sing,
In yon blue dome not rear'd with hands.
Or if ye stay,
To note the consecrated hour,
Teach me the airy way,
And let me try your envied power.
Above the crowd,
On upward wings could I but fly,
I'd bathe in yon bright cloud,
And seek the stars that gem the sky.
'T were heaven indeed,
Through fields of trackless light to soar,
On nature's charms to feed,
And nature's own great God adore.
CURIOSITY IN CHILDHOOD.
In the pleased infant see its power expand,
When first the coral fills his little hand;
Throned in his mother's lap, it dries each tear,
As her sweet legend falls upon
Next it assails him in his top's strange hum,
Breathes in his whistle, echoes in his drum;
Each gilded toy, that doting love bestows,
He longs to break and every spring expose.
Plac'd by your hearth, with what delight he pores
O'er the bright pages of his pictured stores ;
How oft he steals upon your graver task,
Of this to tell you and of that to ask;
And, when the waning hour to-bedward bids,
Though gentle sleep sit waiting on his lids,
How winningly he pleads to gain you o'er,
That he may read one little story more.
Nor yet alone to toys and tales confined, It sits, dark brooding, o'er his embryo mind: Take him between your knees, peruse his face, While all you know, or think you know, you trace; Tell him who spoke creation into birth, Arched the broad heavens and spread the rolling earth,
Who formed a pathway for the obedient sun,
And bade the seasons in their circles run,
Who filled the air, the forest, and the flood,
And gave man all, for comfort or for food;
Tell him they sprang at God's creating nod-
He stops you short with, “Father! who made God ?"
That silent moon, that silent moon,
Careering now through cloudless sky, Oh! who shall tell what varied scenes
Have pass'd beneath her placid eye, Since first, to light this wayward earth,
She walk'd in tranquil beauty forth.
How oft has guilt's unhallow'd hand,
And superstition's senseless rite, And loud, licentious revelry,
Profaned her pure and holy light: Small sympathy is hers, I ween,
With sights like these, that virgin queen.
But dear to her, in summer eve,
By rippling wave, or tufted grove, When hand in hand is purely clasp'd,
And heart meets heart in holy love, To smile, in quiet loneliness,
And hear each whisperd vow, and bless.
Dispersed along the world's wide way,
When friends are far, and fond ones rove,
How powerful she to wake the thought,
And start the tear for those we love !
Who watch, with us, at night's pale noon,
And gaze upon that silent moon.
How powerful, too, to hearts that mourn,
The magic of that moonlight sky,
To bring again the vanish'd scenes,
The happy eves of days gone by;
Again to bring, mid bursting tears,
The loved, the lost of other years.
And oft she looks, that silent moon,
On lonely eyes that wake to weep,
In dungeon dark, or sacred cell,
Or couch, whence pain has banish'd sleep:
Oh! softly beams that gentle eye,
On those who mourn, and those who die.
But beam on whomsoe'er she will,
And fall where'er her splendour may, There's pureness in her chasten'd light, There's comfort in her tranquil ray:
is hers to soothe the heartWhat power, the trembling tear to start ! The dewy morn let others love,
Or bask them in the noontide ray;
There's not an hour but has its charm,
From dawning light to dying day :-
But oh! be mine a fairer boon-
That silent moon, that silent moon!
WHAT IS THAT, MOTHER ? What is that, Mother ?
The lark, my child ! The morn has but just looked out and smiled, When he starts from his humble, grassy nest And is up and away, with the dew on his breast * And a hymn in his heart, to yon pure, bright sphere, To warble it out in his maker's ear.
Ever, my child, be thy morning lays
Tuned, like the lark's, to thy Maker's praise. What is that, Mother?
The dove, my son !
And that low, sweet voice, like a widow's moan,
Is flowing out from her gentle breast
Constant and pure, by that lonely nest,
As the wave is poured from some crystal urn;
For her distant dear one's quick return.-
Ever, my son, be thou like the dove;
In friendship as faithful, as constant in love!
What is that, Mother?
Proudly careering his course of joy ;
Firm, on his own mountain vigour relying,
Breasting the dark storin, the red bolt defying-
*The lav'rock in the morning she 'll rise frae her nest,
And mount to the air wi' the dew on her breast.--Burns.