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Its aimless still and undecided flight,
Give me such aid. I challenge thee once more
To a renewal of our feats of yore.
Let me provoke thee to contention high
Of emulative prowess; let us try
Whether the paths of life, which now we tread,
Yield not wherewith our spirits may be fed
For enterprise poetic, and supply
Themes not unmeet for loftiest poesy.
Methinks our range for fruitful thought is wide—
The church, the cot, the dying saint's bedside,
The house of mourning, the glad nuptial morn,
The christening, and the death, of the first born;
Yea, even the pastoral glance, which peeps within
The foul abodes of infamy and sin;
The hopes and fears of ministerial fight
With souls deep plunged in spiritual night;
The triumph rarely, but how richly, won,
When guilt and desperation's headstrong son,
Whose soul for man or demon ne'er hath quail'd,
By strength of cogent argument assail'd,
Begins to stoop his helm, retreats and reels
Before the Spirit's sword, which now he feels
With terror and with pain, unfelt before,
Cutting its way into his heart's rough core,
And cleaving, with its keen ethereal point,
Spirit and soul, the marrow and the joint,
Till he is fain the unequal fight to yield, •
And leave the gospel master of the field.
Yea, childlike and submissive, bows his head
To Heaven's high will, and follows as he's led,
Till his friends find him where disciples meet,
Devoutly sitting at his Saviour's feet.—
Him whom no force could tame, no fetters bind,
Meek and well clothed, and in his perfect mind.
Triumphs like these to win and to rehearse
Is ours alone. Are such less fit for verse
Than battle fields and bloodshed, wounds and scars,
And tears and groans, the pride of mortal ware?
Or would we look on Nature's face awhile
With eyes which would indulge a sober smile?
The world hath aspects in our pastoral sphere
Meet for such mirth: 'tis ours to see and hear
The parish feud—the vestry's grave debate,
And, in our daily walks, to contemplate
In poor and rich, in rustic and refined,
The freaks and whims of man's mysterious mind
In all its varying humours. But 'tis time
To check the rovings of this wayward rhyme;
And I have much to ask of thine and thee,
And somewhat too to tell, which may not be
Comprised in such brief space as now remains
In this full sheet. Howbeit, if these poor strains
Find favour in thy sight, (as I suppose
They partly will,) write soon in verse or prose,
As likes thee best, give me such sympathy
And counsel as thou canst; but let them be
Accotnpanied by news, delay'd too long,
Of all thy household; how, amidst the throng
Of boarding house anxieties and cares,
The gentle spirit of our Mary fares;
What feats of letter'd prowess he hath done.
Meanwhile our days
Yield matter plentiful for thanks and praise
(Thou and thy Mary) what a spring of bliss,
1 f this afford thee one attraction more
CONCLUSION TO PART I.
I. Live, if ye may, and strike your roots in earth,
Poor flowerets of my fancy's second spring; Whose unexpected and spontaneous birth
From grief's tear-water'd soil, did lately fling A soothing fragrance o'er my home and hearth,
Sadden'd awhile by Death's first visiting. Live, if ye may, and take abiding root, Forerunners, haply, of autumnal fruit.
Feeble, in truth, and fading ye appear; [flowers,
For my mind's garden, once o'erstock'd with Hath been devote, for many a busy year,
To sterner culture, till its laurel bowers, Too long neglected, have grown thin and sere,
And the scant labour of these leisure hours
By which your growth is nurtured ; but I know That henceforth never shall it yield for me
Such gaudy wildflowers and rank weeds as grow In the parterres of wanton phantasy,
But all its poor fertility bestow On holier produce—lays of faith and love, And His great praise who died, and reigns above.
High theme, and worthy to attune the strings
Of seraph harps to symphonies divine; Whereat the angels, folding their bright wings
In trance-like silence, should wrapt ears incline To strains which told them of profounder things
Than thought of theirs can fathom;—and shall
Venture beyond them? daring flight, I ween,
v. Twelve years, life's summer, have for ever fled,
Bringingstrange changes, since the Muse I woo'd.