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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

Bow
That from the region of the rain-cloud smiles upon

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

awful sound

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

controul.

1842.

THE OLD YEAR.

'T

VIS midnight, yet the clear church bells

In measured strains are pealing :
I hear their chime as it gently swells,

O'er hill and valley stealing.
And now 'tis hushed, and now once more
Sound-laden blasts with a gathering roar

The ravished ear with music fill-
Sweep by-and leave the sense behind
And sinking with the sinking wind,

Pause-fade-and all is still.

The old

year

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

voices

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:

And many

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!
The still small voice within declares

How vain were their delay ;
And harmonising to the breast
Foretells the promised place of rest,
With
recompense

for worldly woe; Where cold decay shall never come, But new-born spring for ever bloom,

And years eternal flow.

1826.

SKATING.

WHEN

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.

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