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"Shall I," says he, "of tender age,
In this important care engage?
Older and abler pass'd you by ;
How strong are those, how weak am I!
Should I presume to bear you hence,
Those friends of mine may take offence.
Excuse me, then you know my heart;
But dearest friends, alas! must part.
How shall we all lament! Adieu!
For see, the hounds are just in view !"
THERE is a yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore;
Not loth to furnish weapons for the band
Of Umfraville or Percy, ere they march'd
To Scotland's heaths; or those that cross'd the sea,
And drew their sounding bows at Agincourt,—
Perhaps at earlier Crecy or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary tree! A living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay—
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed.
MUST the hill's coronal, the grove's array,
Earth's flow'ry garlands, wither and decay,
And all the summer's marvels pass away?
Linger, fleet Time, we would not have it so!
Must the green leaves, torn from the forest tree,
Scatter'd by Autumn's blast unsparingly,
In heap'd corruption perish hopelessly?
Stay, sweeping Time, we would not have it so !
Must the rose-hues of Youth grow dim and wan,
Beauty to loveless wrinkled Age pass on,
The bounding, hopeful heart to dust go down?
Hold! ruthless Time, we would not have it so!
But from the Summer's grave, the wind-swept dead,
Once more the Life and Beauty mourn'd as fled
In new-born grace o'er earth's wide plains shall spread!
Haste! bounteous Time, for we would have it so.
And the chill'd hopes? The mouldering form that lies
In earth's forgotten dust, again shall rise,
Spring from corruption to unchanging skies!
Speed! life-restoring Time, let it be so.
TO A JESSAMINE TREE IN THE COURT OF NAWORTH CASTLE.
My slight and slender jessamine tree,
That bloomest on my Border tower,
Thou art more dearly loved by me
Than all the wreaths of foreign bower;
I ask not, while I near thee dwell,
Arabia's spice, or Syria's rose ;
Thy light festoons more freshly smell,
Thy virgin white more purely glows.
My wild and winsome jessamine tree,
That climbest up the dark gray wall,
Thy tiny flow'rets seem in glee,
Like silver spray-drops, down to fall:
Say, did they from their leaves thus peep,
When mail'd moss-troopers rode the hill;
When helmed warders paced the keep,
And bugles blew for Belted Will?
My free and feathery jessamine tree,
Within the fragrance of thy breath
Yon dungeon grated to its key,
And the chain'd captive sigh'd for death:
On Border fray, on feudal crime
I dream not, while I gaze on thee; The chieftains of that stern old time
Could ne'er have loved a jessamine tree.
THE EARL OF CARLISLE.
THE quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heav'n
Upon the place beneath; it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes ;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.
He that bears down young tree and glorious flower,
Death is gone forth,-he walks the wind in power!
Where is the warrior's hand?
Our steps are in the shadow of the grave;
Hear us, we perish! Father, hear, and save!
If in the days of song,
The days of gladness, we have call'd on Thee,
When mirthful voices rang from sea to sea,
And joyous hearts were strong;
Now, that alike the feeble and the brave
Must cry, "We perish!" Father, hear, and save!
The days of song are fled!
The winds come loaded, wafting dirge-notes by,
But they that linger, soon unmourn'd must die;
The dead weep not the dead!
Wilt thou forsake us 'midst the stormy wave,
We sink, we perish! Father, hear, and save!
Helmet and lance are dust!
Is not the strong man wither'd from our eye?
The arm struck down that held our banners high?