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222

THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS.

Sceptre and crown

Must tumble down,

And in the dust be equal made

With the poor, crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late

They stoop to fate,

And must give up their murmuring breath,
When they pale captives creep to Death.

The garlands wither on your brow;

Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon Death's purple altar now

See where the victor victim bleeds;
All hands must come

To the cold tomb,

Only the actions of the just

Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.

THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS. - Bloomfield.

COME, friend, I'll turn thee up again;
Companion of the lonely hour!
Spring thirty times hath fed with rain
And clothed with leaves my humble bower,
Since thou hast stood,

In frame of wood,

On chest or window by my

At

side;

every birth still thou wert near, Still spoke thine admonitions clear, And when my husband died.

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I've often watched thy streaming sand,
And seen the growing mountain rise,
And often found life's hopes to stand
On props as weak in Wisdom's eyes;
Its conic crown

Still sliding down,

Again heaped up, then down again;
The sand above more hollow grew,
Like days and years still filtering through,
And mingling joy and pain.

While thus I spin and sometimes sing,
(For now and then my heart will glow,)
Thou measur'st Time's expanding wing;
By thee the noontide hour I know;
Though silent thou,

Still shalt thou flow,

And jog along thy destined way;
But when I glean the sultry fields,
When earth her yellow harvest yields,
Thou gett'st a holiday.

Steady as truth, on either end
Thy daily task performing well,
Thou 'rt Meditation's constant friend,
And strik'st the heart without a bell :
Come, lovely May!

Thy lengthened day

Shall gild once more my native plain; Curl inward here, sweet woodbine-flower; Companion of the lonely hour,

I'll turn thee u again.

224

THE MEN OF OLD.

HYMN TO DIANA.-Jonson, born in 1574.

QUEENE, and huntresse, chaste, and faire,
Now the sun is laid to sleepe,
Seated, in thy silver chaire,
State in wonted manner keepe:
Hesperus intreats thy light,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy impious shade
Dare itself to interpose :

Cynthia's shining orbe was made
Heaven to cheere, when day did close;
Bless us, then, with wishéd sight,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

Lay thy bow of pearle apart,
And thy cristall-shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart

Space to breathe, how short soever:
Thou that mak'st a day of night,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

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I KNOW not that the men of old
Were better than men now,

Of heart more kind, of hand more bold,

Of more ingenuous brow;

I heed not those who pine perforce

A ghost of Time to raise,

As if they could check the course
Of these appointed days.

Still it is true, and over true,

That I delight to close

This book of life, self-wise and new,
And let my thoughts repose

On all that humble happiness
The world has since foregone,
The daylight of contentedness
That on those faces shone!

With rights, though not too closely scanned, Enjoyed as far as known,

With will by no reverse unmanned,

With pulse of even tone,

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They from to-day and from to-night
Expected nothing more

Than yesterday and yesternight

Had proffered them before.

To them was life a simple art
Of duties to be done,

A game where each man took his part,
A race where all must run;

A battle whose great scheme and scope

They little cared to know,

Content, as men-at-arms, to cope

Each with his fronting foe.

Man now his virtue's diadem

Puts on and proudly wears;

Great thoughts, great feelings, came tɔ them,

Like instincts, unawares :

Blending their souls' sublimest needs

With tasks of every day,

They went about their gravest deeds
As noble boys at play.

226

THE WORTH OF HOURS.

And what if Nature's fearful wound
They did not probe and bare,

For that their spirits never swooned
To watch the misery there, -

For that their love but flowed more fast,

Their charities more free,

Not conscious what mere drops they cast
Into the evil sea.

A man's best things are nearest him,
Lie close about his feet;

It is the distant and the dim

That we are sick to greet:

For flowers that grow our hands beneath,

We struggle and aspire,

Our hearts must die, except they breathe
The air of fresh Desire.

Yet, Brothers, who up Reason's hill
Advance with hopeful cheer,

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O, loiter not! those heights are chill, —
As chill as they are clear;

And still restrain your haughty gaze,
The loftier that ye go,

Remembering distance leaves a haze
On all that lies below.

THE WORTH OF HOURS. — Milnes.

BELIEVE not that your inner eye
Can ever in just measure try

The worth of Hours as they go by:

For every man's weak self, alas!

Makes him to see them, while they pass,
As through a dim or tinted glass:

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