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167

THE DIRGE OF THE YEAR.

As an earthquake rocks a corse

In its coffin in the clay,
So white Winter, that rough nurse,

Rocks the dead-cold year to-day ;
Solemn hours ! wail aloud
For your mother in her shroud.

As the wild air stirs and sways

The tree-swung cradle of a child,
So the breath of these rude days

Rocks the year :—be calm and mild,
Trembling hours ; she will arise
With new love within her eyes.

January gray is here,

Like a sexton by her grave ; February bears the bier,

March with grief doth howl and rave ; And April weeps, but, О ye hours !

O

! Follow with May's fairest flowers.

SHELLEY.

PRAISE OF A COUNTRY LIFE,

MISTAKEN mortals ! did

you

know Where joy, heart's-ease, and comforts grow,

You'd scorn proud towers

And seek them in these bowers, Where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may shake, But blustering care could never tempest make, Nor murmurs e'er come nigh us, Save of fountains that glide by us.

Here's no fantastic masque or dance,
But of our kids that frisk and prance ;

Nor wars are seen,
Unless

upon

the

green Two harmless lambs are butting one anotherWhich done, both bleating run each to his mother ; And wounds are never found, Save what the ploughshare gives the ground.

Go ! let the diving negro seek
For
gems

hid in some forlorn creek ;
We all pearls scorn,

Save what the dewy morn
Congeals upon each little spire of grass,
Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass ;
And gold ne'er here appears,
Save what the yellow harvest bears.

Sir HENRY WOTTON.

THE TRUMPET.

The trumpet's voice hath roused the land,

Light up the beacon pyre !
A hundred hills have seen the brand,

And waved the sign of fire.
A hundred banners on the breeze
Their
gorgeous

folds have cast,
And, hark! was that the sound of seas ?

A king to war went past.

The chief is arming in his hall,

The peasant by his hearth;
The mourner hears the thrilling call,

And rises from the earth.
The mother on her first-born son

Looks with a boding eye-
They come not back, though all be won,

Whose young hearts leap so high.

The bard hath ceased his song, and bound

The falchion to his side e ;
Een for the marriage-altar crown'd,

The lover quits his bride.
And all this haste, and change, and fear,

By earthly clarion spread !
How will it be when kingdoms hear
The blast that wakes the dead ?

MRS. HEMANS. THE CORAL INSECT.

Toil on! toil on! ye ephemeral train,
Who build in the tossing and treacherous main ;
Toil on,—for the wisdom of man ye mock,
With your sand-based structures and domes of rock;
Your columns the fathomless fountains lave,
And your arches spring up to the crested wave;
Ye ’re a puny race, thus to boldly rear
A fabric so vast in a realm so drear.

Ye bind the deep with your

secret zone,
The ocean is sealed, and the surge a stone ;
Fresh wreaths from the coral pavement spring,
Like the terraced pride of Assyria's king ;
The turf looks green where the breakers rolld;
O’er the whirlpool ripens the rind of gold ;
The sea-snatch'd isle is the home of men,
And mountains exult wbere the wave hath been.

But why do you plant ’neath the billows dark
The wrecking reef for the gallant bark ;
There are snares enough on the tented field,
'Mid the blossom’d sweets that the valleys yield ;
There are serpents to coil, ere the flowers are up;
There's a poison-drop in man's purest cup ;
There are foes that watch for his cradle-breath,-
And why need ye sow the floods with death ?

THE CORAL INSECT.

171

With mouldering bones the deeps are white,
From the ice-clad poles to the tropics bright ;-
The mermaid hath twisted her fingers cold
With the mesh of the sea-boy's curls of gold,
And the gods of Ocean have frown'd to see
The mariner's bed in their halls of glee ;
Hath earth no graves, that ye thus must spread
The boundless sea for the thronging dead ?

Ye build,—ye build,—but ye enter not in,
Like the tribes whom the Desert devour'd in their sin ;

Ere its verdure gleams forth on your weary eye ;

As the kings of the cloud-crown'd pyramid
Their noteless bones in oblivion hid;
Ye slumber unmark’d 'mid the desolate main,
While the wonder and pride of your works remain.

MRS. SIGOURNEY.

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