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O, nursed at happy distance from the cares
Of a too-anxious world, mild pastoral Muse!
That, to the sparkling crown Urania wears,
And to her sister Clio's laurel wreath,
Prefer'st a garland culled from purple heath,
Or blooming thicket moist with morning dews;
Was such bright Spectacle vouchsafed to me?
And was it granted to the simple ear
Of thy contented votary
Such melody to hear !
Him rather suits it, side by side with thee,
Wrapped in a fit of pleasing indolence,
While thy tired lute hangs on the hawthorn-tree,
To lie and listen — till o'er-drowsèd sense
Sinks, hardly conscious of the influence --
To the soft murmur of the vagrant Bee.
– A slender sound ! yet hoary Time
Doth to the Soul exalt it with the chime
Of all his years ; — a company
Of ages coming, ages gone,
(Nations from before them sweeping,
Regions in destruction steeping,)
But every awful note in unison
With that faint utterance, which tells
Of treasure sucked from buds and bells,
For the pure keeping of those waxen cells ;
Where She - a statist prudent to confer
Upon the common weal; a warrior bold,
Radiant all over with unburnished gold,
And armed with living spear for mortal fight;
A cunning forager
That spreads no waste; a social builder; one
In whom all busy offices, unite
With all fine functions that afford delight —
Safe through the winter storm in quiet dwells !
offices, unite ford delight Fello!
And is She brought within the power
Of vision ? — o'er this tempting flower
Hovering until the petals stay
Her flight, and take its voice away!--
Observe each wing ! - a tiny van!
The structure of her laden thigh,
How fragile ! yet of ancestry
Mysteriously remote and high;
High as the imperial front of man;
The roseate bloom on woman's cheek;
The soaring eagle's curvèd beak;
The white plumes of the floating swan;
Old as the tiger's paw, the lion's mane
Ere shaken by that mood of stern disdain
At which the desert trembles. — Humming Bee !
Thy sting was needless then, perchance unknown;
The seeds of malice were not sown;
All creatures met in peace, from fierceness free,
And no pride blended with their dignity.
- Tears had not broken from their source ;
Nor Anguish strayed from her Tartarean den;
The golden years maintained a course
Not undiversified, though smooth and even ;
We were not mocked with glimpse and shadow
then; Bright Seraphs mixed familiarly with men ; And earth and stars composed a universal heaven!
“ Not to the earth confined, Ascend to heaven.”
WHERE will they stop, those breathing Powers,
The Spirits of the new-born flowers ?
They wander with the breeze, they wind
Where'er the streams a passage find;
Up from their native ground they rise
In mute aërial harmonies ;
From humble violet, modest thyme,
Exhaled, the essential odors climb,
As if no space below the sky
Their subtle flight could satisfy:
Heaven will not tax our thoughts with pride
If like ambition be their guide.
Roused by this kindliest of May showers, The spirit-quickener of the flowers,
That with moist virtue softly cleaves
The buds, and freshens the young leaves,
The birds pour forth their souls in notes
Of rapture from a thousand throats, -
Here checked by too impetuous haste,
While there the music runs to waste
With bounty more and more enlarged,
Till the whole air is overcharged;
Give ear, O Man! to their appeal,
And thirst for no inferior zeal,
Thou, who canst think as well as feel.
Mount from the earth ; aspire! aspire ! So pleads the town's cathedral quire, In strains that from their solemn height Sink, to attain a loftier flight; While incense from the altar breathes Rich fragrance in embodied wreaths; Or, flung from swinging censer, shrouds The taper-lights, and curls in clouds Around angelic Forms, the still Creation of the painter's skill, That on the service wait concealed One moment, and the next revealed. - Cast off your bonds, awake, arise, And for no transient ecstasies ! What else can mean the visual plea Of still or moving imagery, — The iterated summons loud, Not wasted on the attendant crowd,
Nor wholly lost upon the throng
Hurrying the busy streets along ?
Alas ! the sanctities combined By art to unsensualize the mind, Decay and languish; or, as creeds And humors change, are spurned like weeds : The priests are from their altars thrust; Temples are levelled with the dust; And solemn rites and awful forms Founder amid fanatic storms. Yet evermore, through years renewed In undisturbed vicissitude Of seasons balancing their flight On the swift wings of day and night, Kind Nature keeps a heavenly door Wide open for the scattered Poor. Where flower-breathed incense to the skies Is wafted in mute harmonies ; And ground fresh-cloven by the plough Is fragrant with a humbler vow; Where birds and brooks from leafy dells Chime forth unwearied canticles, And vapors magnify and spread The glory of the sun's bright head, — Still constant in her worship, still Conforming to the Eternal Will, Whether men sow or reap the fields, · Divine monition Nature yields,
That not by bread alone we live,