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But higher far my proud pretensions rise-
And, while the wings of Fancy still are free,
Smooth, snail, list'n'd, list'ns, list'n'st, spear, spleen, spring, asps, clasp'd, stead, strong, tastes, tast'st.
To the Past. W. C. BRYANT.
THOU unrelenting Past!
Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain,
Hold all that enters thy unbreathing reign.
Far in thy realm withdrawn,
Old empires sit in sullenness and gloom;
Lie deep within the shadow of thy womb.
Childhood, with all its mirth,
Youth, ― manhood,
age, that draws us to the ground,
And last, man's life on earth,
Glide to thy dim dominions, and are bound.
Thou hast my better years,
Thou hast my early friends-the good-the kind, Yielded to thee with tears
The venerable form - the exalted mind.
My spirit yearns to bring
The lost ones back-yearns with desire intense, And struggles hard to wring
Thy bolts apart, and pluck thy captives thence.
In vain — thy gates deny
All passage, save to those who hence depart;
Thou giv'st them back — nor to the broken heart.
In thy abysses hide.
Beauty and excellence unknown to thee
Are gathered, as the waters to the sea;
Labors of good to man, Unpublished charity, unbroken faithLove, that 'midst grief began,
And grew with years, and faltered not in death.
Full many a mighty name
Lurks in thy depths, unuttered, unrevered;
Forgotten arts, and wisdom disappeared.
Thine, for a space, are they —
Yet shalt thou yield thy treasures up at last;
Thy bolts shall fall, inexorable Past!
All that of good and fair
Has gone into thy womb, from earliest time,
They have not perished—no!
Kind words, remembered voices, once so sweet,
And features, the great soul's apparent seat;
All shall come back, each tie
And sorrow dwell a prisoner in thy reign.
And then shall I behold
Him, by whose kind paternal side I sprung,
Fills the next grave- the beautiful and young.
Better Moments. N. P. WILLIS.
My mother's voice! how often creep
Or dew to the unconscious flowers.
While leaping pulses madly fly;
Length'n, length'n'd, length'n'dst, length'ns, truths, throne, smooth'd. smooths, smooth'st.
But in the still, unbroken air,
The book of nature, and the print
Of beauty on the whispering sea, Give aye to me some lineament
Of what I have been taught to be.
My manliness hath drunk up tears,
I have been out, at eventide,
Beneath a moonlit sky of spring, When earth was garnished like a bride, And Night had on her silver wingWhen bursting leaves, and diamond grass, And waters leaping to the light, And all that make the pulses pass
With wilder fleetness, thronged the night; When all was beauty-then have I,
With friends on whom my love is flung, Like myrrh on winds of Araby,
Gazed up where evening's lamp is hung.
And when the beauteous spirit there
Like the light dropping of the rain,
Then, as on childhood's bended knee,
I've poured her low and fervent prayer,
To rise in heaven, like stars at night,
I have been on the dewy hills,
When night was stealing from the dawn, And mist was on the waking rills,
And tints were delicately drawn
Upon the whisper of the breeze; -
And when the sun sprang gloriously And freely up, and hill and river
Were catching, upon wave and tree, The subtile arrows from his quiver;
I say, a voice has thrilled me then,
Heard on the still and rushing light, Or creeping from the silent glen,
Like words from the departing night, — Hath stricken me, and I have pressed
On the wet grass my fevered brow, And, pouring forth the earliest,
First prayer with which I learned to bow, Have felt my mother's spirit rush