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THE MASQUE OF NATURE.
Who is this beautiful virgin that approaches, clothed in a robe of light green? She has a garland of flowers upon her head, and flowerets spring up wherever she sets her foot. The snow which covered the fields, and the ice which was in the rivers, melt away when she breathes upon them. The young lambs frisk about her, and the birds warble in their little throats, to welcome her coming: and when they see her they begin to choose their mates, and build their nests. Youths and maidens ! have ye seen this beautiful virgin ? If ye have, tell me who she is, and what is her name ?
Who is this that cometh from the south, thinly clad in a light transparent garment ? Her breath is hot and sultry; she seeks
the refreshment of the cool shade ; she seeks the clear brooks, the crystal streams, to bathe her languid limbs. The brooks and rivulets fly from her, and are dried up at her approach. She cools her parched lips with berries, and the grateful acid of all fruits. The seedy melon, the sharp apple, and the red pulp of the juicy cherry, which are poured out plentifully around her. The tanned hay-makers welcome her coming, and the sheep-shearer, who clips the fleeces of his flock with his sounding shears. When she cometh, let me lie under the thick shade of a spreading beech-tree; let me walk with her in the early morning, when the dew is upon the grass ; let me wander with her in the soft twilight, when
the shepherd shuts his fold, and the star of evening appears. Who is she that cometh from the south? Youths and maidens! tell me, if ye know who she is, and what is her name?
Who is he that cometh with sober pace, stealing upon us unawares ? His garments are red with the blood of the grape, and his temples are bound with a sheaf of ripe wheat : his hair is thin, and begins to fall, and the auburn is mixed with mournful grey
He shakes the brown nuts from the tree; he winds his horn, and calls the hunters to their sport. The gun sounds ;--the trembling partridge and the beautiful pheasant flutter bleeding in the air, and fall dead at the sportsman's feet. Who is he that is crowned with a wheat-sheaf? Youths and maidens ! if ye know, tell me who he is, and what is her name?
Who is he that cometh from the north, clothed in fur, and warm wool? He wraps his cloak close about him; his head is bald ; his beard is covered with white icicles. He loves the blazing fire high piled upon the hearth, and the wine sparkling in the glass. He binds skates to his feet, and skims over the frozen lakes. His breath is cold and piercing, and no little flower dares to peep above the surface of the ground when he is by. Whatever he touches turns to ice; if he were to stroke you with his cold hand, you would be quite stiff and dead like a piece of marble. Youths and maidens ! do you see him? He is coming fast upon you, and soon he will be here. Tell me, if ye know, who he is, and what is his name?
THE ORPHAN BOY.
A PERSIAN TALE.
“Whence art thou, whose warblings wild
On mine ear so sweetly dwell ?”— “ I'm a hapless orphan child,
Bringing water from the well. “ If my songs thine ear offend,
I will quickly silent be; Here I am, without a friend ;
Moslem! speak--I'll list to thee." “Little innocent, awhile
Will I shade me from the sun; With thy songs an hour beguile,
And reward thee when 'tis done.” “ Much I fear my accents rude,
And my songs would worthless be, Should my singing be pursued,
Hopeful of a gift from thee. “ Unconstrain’d, with simple voice,
Did my words unheeded flow;
Grief's the lot of man below!
This he said, and dropt a tear,
Bade my mother nothing fear.
“He was doom'd in-fight to fall
Quickly were the tidings known; Soon she heard the angels call,
Died, and left her child alone. “Friendless, unprotected here,
Want must still my portion be ; Pity then, my loss severe;
Gentle Moslem ! pity me. “ Child of sorrow, wealth is mine ;
Pity leads my heart to prove, If a spirit dwells in thine,
Fraught with gratitude and love. “I will take thee, orphan child,
And adopt thee as my own; Cease not then thy warblings wild,
Tho' thy toilsome days be flown. “ I'll protect thy tender years,
Henceforth thy instructor be; Little warbler, dry thy tears,
Leave thy cruise and follow me.”
“You are old, Father William,” the young man cried,
« The few locks which are left you are grey ; You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason, I pray ?” “In the days of my youth,” Father William replied,
“I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
And abus'd not my health and my vigour at first,
That I never might need them at last." “You are old, Father William,” the young man cried,
“And pleasures with youth pass away, And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason, I pray.” “In the days of my youth,” Father William replied,
“I remember'd that youth could not last, I thought of the future whatever I did,
That I never might grieve for the past.” “You are old, Father William,” the young man cried,
“ And life must be hast'ning away; You are cheerful, and love to converse upon death, Now tell me the reason, I pray
?” “I am cheerful, young man,” Father William replied;
Let the cause thy attention engage: In the days of my youth I remember'd my God,
And he hath not forgotten my age. Southey.
BEAUTIFUL, sublime, and glorious;
Mild, majestic, foaming, free,-
Image of eternity.
See thy surface ebb and flow;
In thy soundless depths below.