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Winter now has ebbed its lowest, furthest from
all golden prime; Nature motionless lies stranded on the banks and
shoals of Time. And the forked and broken branches tossing to the
raving sky, Are distressful signals with a lamentation waved on
high. But far off assurance beacons, clad in raiment of the
the earth below: Assurance, tarrying for the day-spring without fever
or amaze ; Like the Sphinx Egyptian, calm in indefatigable gaze; Though in solstitial feebleness the sun along the
ecliptic steals, She shall mark the acceleration of his burning chariot
wheels; She shall sit beneath her vine-tree when the purple
harvest reels. As the wind, that bloweth where it listeth, stirs the
stagnant ocean, So the afflux of the seasons vibrates with a gathering
motion. Sense refined for things eternal hears the low yet
Of a voice that chides the pausing of the emblematic
round. Days on days, as waves on waves, shall follow, till
elate we see Nature on the tide of summer floating in her bravery.
But the summer's perfumed breeze with chartered
wantonness is fraught:Now with Winter harmonizes staid sobriety of thought. Thought, the furthest from despondence that would
think to read aright The symbol of man's fortunes in this brief and melan
choly light, That THE SHORTEST Day forecloses; thought, that
sets at nought the praise, The wealth, the power, the fame, the credit, to be
gleaned in golden days, Cleaving to the independent inward riches of a soul, Vested with the garb of honour won by genuine self
THE OLD YEAR.
VIS midnight, yet the clear church bells
In measured strains are pealing :
O'er hill and valley stealing.
The ravished ear with music fill-
Pause-fade-and all is still.
is dead !—the best of years ! He lies upon his bier ! Your tones, ye pensive monitors,
Yet linger in mine ear. From high to low your
range, With moody elements of change;
And ye tell in the close of your dying fall Of hopes and enterprises fair, Like vacant sounds dispersed in air :
or the world lies under a pall:
there are who never more Your melody shall hear; Nor see the lengthening days restore
A beauteous blithe new year. And I heard in your peal a deep-toned bell That to-morrow may sullenly swing my knell,
And bid my comrades cease their mirth, And loosen the knots of their festival bowers, And scatter the sweet exotic flowers
Over the new-raised earth.
Yet let the crowd of winged years
Pass on, away, away!
How vain were their delay ;
for worldly woe; Where cold decay shall never come, But new-born spring for ever bloom,
And years eternal flow.
HEN to his feet the Skater binds his wings,
As of Jove's messenger the poet sings, He, like the hare, outstrips the northern wind, And casts, in doubling, a keen glance behind. By art that to the frozen lake conveys A glowing interest in winter days, Before the gazer now he seems to fly; Now with a backward stroke deludes the eye; Precipitating curves on curves anew, Returning ever, to his centre true. With air of noble ease, and swan-like grace, He balances awhile in narrow space ; Then sweeps far round with power not shown before, And on his crystal plain does all but soar. Yet is his pastime brief; the solar heat Grows strong; again the lapsing waters meet, And to dull plodding earth confine his daring feet.