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Ceremony has made many fools.
'Tis better in a play Be Agamemnon, than himself indeed. How oft, with danger of the field beset, Or with home-mutinies, would he un-be Himself; or, over cruel altnrs weeping, Wish, that with putting off a vizard he Might his true inward sorrow lay aside! The shows of things are better than themselves, How doth it stir this airy part of us To hear our poets tell imagin'd fights And the strange blows that feigned courage gives. When I Achilles hear upon the Stage Speak honour and the greatness of his soul, Methinks I too could on a Phrygian spear Run boldly, and make tales for after times: But when we come to act it in the deed, Death mars this bravery, and the ugly fears Of th' other world sit on the proudest brow: And boasting valour loseth his red cheek.
Tragedy of Nero.
Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk, Though frosts may blight the freshness of its bloom, Yet spring's awakening breath will woo the earth To feed, with kindliest dews, its favourite flower, That blooms in mossy banks and darksome glens, Lighting the greensward with its sunny smile.
SHELLEY. A THOUGHT OVER A CRADLE.
Strange that flowers of earth
Are visited by every air that stirs,
And drink in sweetness only, while the child
That shuts within its breast a bloom for heaven,
May take a blemish from the breath of love,
And bear the blight for ever.
I have wept With gladness at the gift of this fair child! My life is bound up in her. But, O God! Thou know'st how heavily my heart at times Bears its sweet burthen : and if thou hast given To nurture such as mine this spotless flower, To bring it unpolluted unto thee, Take thou its love I pray thee ! Give it light— Though, following the sun, it turns from me !— But, by the chord thus wrung, and by the light Shining about her, draw me to my child! And link us close, O God, when near to heaven!
N. P. Willis.
How ruthless men are to adversity!
Health floats amid the gentle atmosphere,
Our own heart, and not other men's opinions,
I must have wanton poets, pleasant wits,
Great Men's Looks.
Did not the duke look up? methought he saw us.—
That's every one's conceit that sees a duke,
If be look stedfastly, he looks straight at them:
Still the same, ever the same, this outward face of things!
o'er; Vividly fretteth the sorrel the deep brown beech-leaf floor. Even the delicate flowers cling to the self-same spot; Meadow-sweet decks the river, and blue forget-me-not; Close to the feathery larch-tree the woodbine clingcth
still, The wild-rose scents the valley, the golden gorse, the hill. Cruel, O cruel Nature! put away the treacherous veil! Put away the smile of mockery—tell us a truer tale! Shatter the painful image of thy changeless trees and
stones I Thou art a whited sepulchre all full of mould'ring bones! Green is the grass above our graves; dearer the death
below; No wood-songs bring our music back—it ceased too long
ago; Why should thy soulless beauty, then, thus everlasting
seem, The while our living flowers fade, and vanish like a dream?
Thus spake I, standing lonely in the old unchanging
scene, Marking the empty setting where the living gems had
been; But the solemn voice of nature rose on the wind and said: "Why wilt thou still be seeking the living amid the dead? The seed and the berry moulder, and the hard stone
mouldereth not; But where rise the beauteous flowers ?—where the seed and
the berry rot."
THE GAME AT CHESS.
A playful little poem by the late Laman Blanchard. It was contributed to one of the Annuals.
Love with a lady—would you know
Her name, then read this heart, for there
Imprinted in the hyacinth fair,—
Or when, or how, 'tis yours to guess;
Love with a lady play'd at chess!
Most innocent, and calm, and high,
The mind which in that lady's face
In a clear brook's green dwelling-place,
And, robed in each serenest grace,
So there, as time flew on apace,
'Twas like a dream to see them play:
So deeply, marvellously still.
One influence of the tyrant will
Controlling both, for well or ill!
Angels, on heaven's own azure hill,
But see, a smile succeeds to doubt
In ber fair eyes—they see "the move;"
And swift as thought she stretches out
Across, on all sides, unafraid,
Joy in her soul: and thus with Love
Her game of chess the lady play'd.
What is the world, and what is life,
To her whose heart is in the game!