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A little sun-a little rain,
And then night sweeps along the plain,
And all his hopes and fears lie with him in the dust.
O, what is beauty's power?
Will the cold earth its silence break,
To tell how soft, how smooth a cheek
Mute, mute is all
Her praise resounds no more when mantled in her pall.
The most belov'd on earth
Not long survives to-day;
And yet 'twas sweet, 'twas passing sweet;
But now 'tis gone away.
Thus does the shade
In memory fade,
When in forsaken tomb the form belov'd is laid.
Then, since this world is vain,
Why should I lay up earthly joys,
Where rust corrupts, and moth destroys,
Why fly from ill
With anxious skill,
When soon this hand will freeze, this throbbing heart be still?
Come, Disappointment, come!
A votary sad in early day,
I bend my knee to thee:
From sun to sun
My race will run;
I only bow, and say, "My God, thy will be done!"
TO AN EARLY PRIMROSE.
Mild offspring of a dark and sullen sire!
Thee, when young Spring first questioned Winter's sway,
And dared the sturdy blust'rer to the fight,
Thee on this bank he threw,
To mark his victory.
In this low vale, the promise of the year,
Thy tender elegance.
So virtue blooms, brought forth amid the storms
While every bleaching breeze that on her blows Chastens her spotless purity of breast,
And hardens her to bear
THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM.
When marshall'd on the nightly plain,
Can fix the sinner's wandering eye.
From every host, from every gem;
Once on the raging seas I rode ;
The storm was loud-the night was dark; The ocean yawned-and rudely blowed
The wind that tossed my foundering bark.
Deep horror then my vitals froze
Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stemWhen suddenly a star arose:
It was the Star of Bethlehem.
It was my guide, my light, my all,
It bade my dark forebodings cease;
Now safely moored-my perils o'er-
The Star-the Star of Bethlehem!
A HYMN FOR FAMILY WORSHIP.
O Lord! another day is flown,
And we, a lonely band,
Are met once more before thy throne,
And wilt thou bend a list'ning ear
Thou wilt! for thou dost love to hear
And, Jesus, thou thy smiles wilt deign,
For thou didst bless the infant train,
O let thy grace perform its part,
And shed abroad in every heart
Thus chasten'd, cleans'd, entirely thine,
The Sun of Holiness shall shine
And thou wilt turn our wandering feet,
Till worlds shall fade, and faith shall greet
Blest as you are with the good testimony of an approving conscience, and happy in an intimate communion with the all-pure, and all-merciful God, these trifling concerns ought not to molest you; nay, were the tide of adversity to turn strong against you, even were your friends to forsake you, and abject poverty to stare you in the face, you ought to be abundantly thankful to God for his mercies to you; you ought to consider yourself still as rich, yea, to look around you, and say, I am far happier than the sons of men. This is a system of philosophy which, for myself, I shall not only preach, but practice. We are here for nobler purposes than to waste the fleeting moments of our lives in lamentations and wailings over troubles which, in their widest extent, do but affect the present state, and which, perhaps, only regard our personal ease and prosperity. Make me an outcast-a beggar; place me a barefooted pilgrim on the top of the Alps or the Pyrenees; and I should have wherewithal to sustain the spirit within me, in the reflection that all this was but as for a moment, and that a period would come when wrong, and injury, and trouble should be no more. Are we to be so utterly enslaved by habit and asso
ciation that we shall spend our lives in anxiety and bitter care, only that we may find a covering for our bodies, or the means of assuaging hunger? For what else is an anxiety after the world?
Letter to Mr. B. Maddock.
ADVICE TO THE YOUNG.
I would therefore exhort you earnestly-you who are yet unskilled in the ways of the world-to beware on what object you concentrate your hopes. Pleasures may allure-pride or ambition may stimulate; but their fruits are hollow and deceitful, and they afford no sure, no solid satisfaction. You are placed on the earth in a state of probation-your continuance here will be, at the longest, a very short period; and when you are called from hence you plunge into an eternity, the completion of which will be in correspondence to your past life, unutterably happy or inconceivably miserable. Your fate will probably depend on your early pursuits-it will be these which will give the turn to your character and to your pleasures. I beseech you, therefore, with a meek and lowly spirit, to read the pages of that book which the wisest and best of men have acknowledged to be the word of God. You will there find a rule of moral conduct such as the world never had any idea of before its divulgation. If you covet earthly happiness, it is only to be found in the path you will find there laid down; and I can confidently promise you, in a life of simplicity and purity, a life passed in accordance with the divine word, such substantial bliss, such unruffled peace, as is nowhere else to be found. All other schemes of earthly pleasure are fleeting and unsatisfactory. They all entail upon them repentance and bitterness of thought. This alone endureth for ever; this alone embraces equally the present and the future; this alone can arm a man against every calamity can alone shed the balm of peace over that scene of life when pleasures have lost their zest, and the mind can no longer look forward to the dark and mysterious future. Above all, beware of the ignis fatuus of false philosophy: that must be a very defective system of ethics which will not bear a man through the most trying stage of his existence; and I know of none that will do it but the Christian.
ANNA SEWARD, 1747-1809.
ANNA SEWARD, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Seward, of Litchfield, was born in the year 1747. In her very early childhood, she showed a great passion for poetry; but her mother, who had no taste for it, and who had a dread lest her daughter should be a "literary lady," persuaded her husband to forbid Anna from pursuing the natural bent of her genius. Poetry, therefore, was prohibited; and, to her praise, she sacrificed her own strong and decided tastes to the inclination of her parents. At the age of seventeen, she lost her only sister, a bereavement which she felt most keenly, and which she subsequently made the subject of an elegy. The blank in her domestic society was, however, in a degree supplied by the attachment of Miss Honora Sneyd,' then residing in her father's family, whom she often mentions in her poetry.
When of age to select her own studies, she became a professed votary of the Muse, and she was known by the name of the "Swan of Litchfield." Among her first publications was "An Elegy to the Memory of Captain Cook," and "A Monody on the Death of Major Andre." From the nature of the subjects, they enjoyed great popularity for the time, but are now very little read, though Sir Walter Scott says that "they convey a high impression of the original powers of their author." In 1799, she published a "Collection of Original Sonnets," which contain some beautiful examples of that species of composition. After this she did not publish any large poem; yet she continued to pour forth her poetical effusions upon such occasions as interested her feelings, or excited her imagination. She died on the 23d of March, 1809, having bequeathed, by will, to Sir Walter Scott, with whom for many years she had corresponded, the copyright of her poems and letters, with a request that he would superintend their publication.
Of her character and her poetry, a distinguished critic thus speaks: "She was endowed with considerable genius, and with an ample portion of that fine enthusiasm which sometimes may be mistaken for it; but her taste was far from good, and her numerous productions (a few excepted) are disfigured by florid ornament and elaborate magnificence."
Ah, lovely Litchfield! that so long hast shone
She was the object of Major Andre's attachment, and afterwards became Mrs. Edgeworth.
Read the Biographical Preface of Sir Walter Scott to his edition of Miss Seward's Poetical Works, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1810.
* Rev. Alexander Dyce, in his "Specimens of British Poetesses."