Page images


IT IS NOT ALWAYS MAY. The sun is bright, the air is clear,

The darting swallows soar and sing, And from the stately elms I hear

The blue-bird prophesying Spring. So blue yon winding river flows,

It seems an outlet from the sky, Where, waiting till the west wind blows,

The freighted clouds at anchor lie. All things are new ;-the buds, the leaves,

That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest, And even the nest beneath the eaves ;

There are no birds in last year's nest ! All things rejoice in youth and love,

The fulness of their first delight! And learn from the soft heavens above

The melting tenderness of night. Maiden, that read'st this simple rhyme,

Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay; Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime,

For oh, it is not always May!

Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth,

To some good angel leave the rest; For time will teach thee soon the truth

There are no birds in last year's nest.


The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary ;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,

And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,

And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart ! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall.

Some days must be dark and dreary.


UNDER a spreading chestnut-tree

The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he,

With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms

Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,

His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,

He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,

For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,

You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,

With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,

When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school

Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,

And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly

Like chaff from a threshing floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,

And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,

He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,

And it makes his heart rejoice;

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,

Singing in Paradise !
He needs must think of her once more,

How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes

A tear out of his eyes.


Onward through life he goes ; Each morning sees some task begun,

Each evening sees its close; Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night's repose, Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life

Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped

Each burning deed and thought.


The rising moon has hid the stars ;
Her level rays, like golden bars,

Lie on the landscape green,
With shadows brown between.

And silver white the river gleams,
As if Diana in her dreams,

Had dropt her silver bow
Upon the meadows low.

On such a tranquil night as this,
She woke Endymion with a kiss,

When, sleeping in the grove,
He dreamed not of her love.

Like Dian's kiss, unasked, unsought,
Love gives itself, but is not bought;

Nor voice, nor sound betrays
Its deep, impassioned gaze.

It comes—the beautiful, the free,
The crown of all humanity-

In silence and alone
To seek the elected one.

It lifts the boughs, whose shadows deep,
Are life's oblivion, the soul's sleep,

And kisses the closed eyes

Of him who slumbering lies.
O weary hearts! O slumbering eyes!
O drooping souls, whose destinies

Are fraught with fear and pain,

Ye shall be loved again!
No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,

But some heart, though unknown,

Responds unto his own.
Responds—as if with unseen wings,
An angel touched its quivering strings;

And whispers, in its song,

Where hast thou stayed so long?"

I LIKE that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls

The burial-ground God's-Acre! It is just;
It consecrates each grave within its walls,

And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust.

God's-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts

Comfort to those who in the grave have sown The seed, that they had garnered in their hearts, Their bread of life, alas ! no more their own.

« PreviousContinue »