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There is a lake, a small, round lake,

High on the mountain's breast;
The child of rains and melted snows,

The torrent's summer rest.
A mirror, where the veteran rocks

May glass their peaks and scars;
A nether sky where breezes break

The sunlight into stars.

O, gayly shone that little lake,

And nature, sternly fair,
Put on a sparkling countenance

To greet that merry pair;
How light from stone to stone they leapt !

How trippingly they ran!
To scale the rock and gain the marge

Was all a moment's span!

“See, dearest, this primeval boat,

So quaint and rough, - I deem
Just such an one did Charon ply

Across the Stygian stream ;
Step in, - I will your Charon be,

And you a spirit bold;
I was a famous rower once,

In college days of old.

“The clumsy oar! the laggard boat!

How slow we move along !
The work is harder than I thought,

A song, my love, a song!”
Then, standing up, she carolled out

So blithe and sweet a strain,
That the long-silent cliffs were glad

To peal it back again.



He, tranced in joy, the oar laid down,

And rose in careless pride,
And swayed, in cadence to the song,

The boat from side to side;
Then, clasping hand in loving hand,

They danced a childish round,
And felt as safe in that mid-lake

As on the firmest ground.

One poise too much! he headlong fell,

She, stretching out to save
A feeble arm, was borne adown

Within that glittering grave;
One moment, and the gush went forth

Of music-mingled laughter;
The struggling splash and deathly shriek

Were there the instant after.

Her weaker head above the flood,

That quick engulfed the strong,
Like some enchanted water-flower,

Waved pitifully long;
Long seemed the low and lonely wail

Athwart the tide to fade ;
Alas! that there were some to hear,

But never one to save.

Yet not alas! if Heaven revered

The freshly spoken vow,
And willed that what was then made one

Should not be sundered now;
If she was spared, by that sharp stroke,

Love's most unnatural doom,
The future lorn and unconsoled,

The unavoided tomb!



But weep, ye very rocks, for those,

Who, on their native shore,
Await the letters of dear news,

That shall arrive no more!
One letter from a stranger hand, -

Few words are all the need ;
And then the funeral of the heart,

The course of useless speed !

The presence of the cold, dead wood,

The single mark and sign
Of all so loved and beautiful,-

The handiwork divine !
The weary search for his fine form,

That in the depth would linger,
And late success, — 0, leave the ring

Upon that faithful finger!

And if in life there lie the seed

Of real enduring being,
If love and truth be not decreed

To perish unforeseeing,
This youth the seal of death has stamped,

Now time can wither never,
This hope, that sorrow might have damped,

Is flowering fresh forever.


The lazy mist hangs from the brow of the hill, Concealing the course of the dark, winding rill : How languid the scenes, late so sprightly, appear, As autumn to winter resigns the pale year!



The forests are leafless, the meadows are brown,
And all the gay foppery of summer is flown;
Apart let me wander, apart let me muse,
How quick Time is flying, how keen fate pursues !
How long I have lived, — but how much lived in vain, -
How little of life's scanty span may remain !
What aspects old Time in his progress has worn!
What ties cruel Fate in my bosom has torn!

How foolish, or worse, till our summit is gained ;
And downward, how weakened, how darkened, how

pained !
Life is not worth having, with all it can give;
For something beyond it poor man sure must live.


LIKE as the damask rose you see,
Or like the blossom on the tree,
Or like the dainty flower of May,
Or like the morning to the day,
Or like the sun, or like the shade,
Or like the gourd which Jonah had,
E'en such is man; - whose thread is

Drawn out and cut, and so is done.
Withers the rose, the blossom blasts,
The flower fades, the morning hastes,
The sun doth set, the shadow flies,
The gourd consumes, – and man, he dies !

Like to the grass that 's newly sprung,
Or like a tale that 's new begun,

* Born about 1565.

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Or like the bird that's here to-day,
Or like the pearléd dew of May,
Or like an hour, or like a span,
Or like the singing of a swan,
E'en such is man;- who lives by breath,
Is here, now there, in life and death.
The grass decays, the tale is ended,
The bird is flown, the dew 's ascended,
The hour is short, the span not long,
The swan 's near death, man's life is done!

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Like to the bubble in the brook,
Or in a glass much like a look,
Or like the shuttle in the hand,
Or like the writing in the sand,
Or like a thought, or like a dream,
Or like the gliding of the stream,
E'en such is man;

who lives by breath,
Is here, now there, in life and death.
The bubble 's burst, the look 's forgot,
The shuttle 's flung, the writing 's blot,
The thought is past, the dream is gone,
The water glides, - man's life is done!


SENSIBILITY, how charming,

Thou, my friend, canst truly tell;
But distress, with horrors arming,

Thou hast also known too well.

Fairest flower! behold the lily

Blooming in the sunny ray;
Let the blast sweep o'er the valley,

See it prostrate on the clay.

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