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CLOSE OF A YEAR.
And it hath gone into the grave of time—
The past—the mighty sepulchre of all!
That solemn sound—the midnight's mournful chime,
Was its deep dead-bell!—but, within the hall,
The old and young held gladsome festival.—
What hath it left them, thus to cause such joy ?—
Gray hairs to some—and hearts less green to all,
And fewer steps to where their fathers lie
Low in the church-yard cell—cold—dark—and silently!
Strange time for mirth !—when round the leafless tree
The wild winds of the winter moan and sigh,
And, while the twilight saddens o'er the lea,
Mute every woodland's evening melody—
Mute the wide landscape—save where hurrying by
Roars the dark torrent on its headlong flight,
Or slowly sailing through the blackening sky,
Hoots unto solitude the bird of night;
Seeking the domeless wall—the turret's hoary height:— And yet with nature, sooth, we need not grieve;
She does not heed the woes of humankind;
No; for the tempests howl—the waters heave
Their hoary hills unto the raging wind,
And the poor bark no resting-place can find;
And friends on shore shall weep—and weep in vain,
For, to the ruthless elements consigned,
The seaman's corpse is drifting through the main,
Ne'er to be seen by them—nor heard of e'er again.
Now o'er the skies the orbs of light are spread,
And through yon shoreless sea they wander on:—
Where is the place of your abode ye dead?
To what far regions have your spirits gone?
But ye are silent—silent as the stone
That gathers moss above your bed of rest,
And from the land of souls returneth none
To tell us of the place to which we haste:
But time will tell us all—and time will tell us best.
How still—how soft—and yet how dread is all
How sweet, methinks, e'en for one little day,
Surely there is a language in the sky—
Now gleams the moon o'er Arthur's mighty crest,
It speaks of former scenes—of days gone by—
Of early friendships—of the loved and lost—
And wakes such music in the heart as sigh
Of evening wooes from harpstrings gently crost;
And thoughts and feelings crowd—a varied host,
Oerthe lone bosom from their slumbers deep,
Unfelt amidst its winter's gathering frost
Till the soft spell of music o'er it creep,
And thaw the ice away, and bid the dreamer weep!
ADDRESS TO THE MUMMY IN BELZONl'S
And thou hast walked about, (how strange a story I)
When the Memnonium was in all its glory,
Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
Of which the very ruins are tremendous.
Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dummy,
Thou'rt standing on thy legs, above ground, mummy!
Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures,
But with thy bones, and flesh, and limbs and features.
Tell us—for doubtless thou canst recollect,
Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect
Is Pompey's pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?
Perhaps thou wert a mason, and forbidden
Then say what secret melody was hidden
In Memnon's statue which at sunrise played?
Perhaps thou wert a priest—if so, my struggles
Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.
Perchance that very hand, now pinioned flat,
Or dropped a halfpenny in Homer's hat,
Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass,
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great temple's dedication.
I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed,