Imatges de pàgina

The posts of time are swift, which hav

ing run

Their seven short stages o'er, their shortlived task is done.

Our days
Begun we lend

To sleep, to antic plays.

And toys, until the first stage end : Twelve waning moons, twice five times told, we give

To unrecover'd loss: we rather breathe

than live.

We spend

A ten years' breath

Before we apprehend

What 'tis to live, or fear a death: Our childish dreams are fill'd with painted joys,

Which please our sense a while, and waking, prove but toys.

How vain,

How wretched, is

Poor man, that doth remain

A slave to such a state as this! His days are short, at longest; few at most:

They are but bad, at best; yet lavish'd out, or lost.

They be

The secret springs

That make our minutes flee

On wheels more swift than eagles' wings:

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My life is like the prints which feet
Have left on Tampa's desert strand;
Soon as the rising tide shall beat,

All trace will vanish from the sand;
Yet, as if grieving to efface

All vestige of the human race,

On that lone shore loud moans the sea

Our life's a clock, and every gasp of But none, alas! shall mourn for me!

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Ere we can count our days, our days they Without disease, the healthful life;

flee so fast.

The household of continuance;

The mean diet, no delicate fare;

True wisdom joined with simpleness; The night discharged of all care, Where wine the wit may not oppress; The faithful wife, without debate;

Such sleeps as may beguile the night. Contented with thine own estate, Ne wish for Death, ne fear his might. HENRY HOWARD, Earl of Surrey.

THE WEB of Life.

My life, which was so straight and plain, Has now become a tangled skein,

Yet God still holds the thread; Weave as I may, His hand doth guide The shuttle's course, however wide

The chain in woof be wed.

One weary night, when months went by, I plied my loom with tear and sigh,

In grief unnamed, untold;

But when at last the morning's light
Broke on my vision, fair and bright
There gleamed a cloth of gold.
And now I never lose my trust,
Weave as I may-and weave I must—
That God doth hold the thread;
He guides my shuttle on its way,
He makes complete my task each day;
What more, then, can be said?



THERE be those who sow beside
The waters that in silence glide,
Trusting no echo will declare
Whose footsteps ever wandered there.

The noiseless footsteps pass away,
The stream flows on as yesterday;
Nor can it for a time be seen
A benefactor there had been.

Yet think not that the seed is dead
Which in the lonely place is spread;
It lives, it lives-the spring is nigh,
And soon its life shall testify.

That silent stream, that desert ground,
No more unlovely shall be found;
But scattered flowers of simplest grace
Shall spread their beauty round the place.

And soon or late a time will come
When witnesses, that now are dumb,
With grateful eloquence shall tell
From whom the seed, there scattered, fell.



How much the heart may bear, and yet not break!

How much the flesh may suffer, and not die!

I question much if any pain or ache

Of soul or body brings our end more nigh: Death chooses his own time: till that is sworn,

All evils may be borne.

We shrink and shudder at the surgeon's knife,

Each nerve recoiling from the cruel steel Whose edge seems searching for the quivering life,

Yet to our sense the bitter pangs reveal, That still, although the trembling flesh be torn,

This also can be borne.

We see a sorrow rising in our way,

And try to flee from the approaching ill; We seek some small escape; we weep and pray;

But when the blow falls, then our hearts are still;

Not that the pain is of its sharpness shorn, But that it can be borne.

We wind our life about another life;

We hold it closer, dearer than our own: Anon it faints and fails in deathly strife, Leaving us stunned, and stricken, and


But ah! we do not die with those we mourn,

This also can be borne.

Behold, we live through all things-famine, thirst,

Bereavement, pain; all grief and misery, All woe and sorrow; life inflicts its worst On soul and body-but we cannot die. Though we be sick, and tired, and faint, and worn,

Lo, all things can be borne.


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"With you! and quit my Susan's side!
With you!" the hapless husband cried;
"Young as I am, 'tis monstrous hard!
Besides, in truth, I'm not prepared :
My thoughts on other matters go:
This is my wedding-day, you know."
What more he urged, I have not heard;
His reasons could not well be stronger;
So Death the poor delinquent spared,
And left to live a little longer.
Yet calling up a serious look-
His hour-glass trembled while he spoke-
"Neighbor," he said, "farewell! No more
Shall Death disturb your mirthful hour;
And farther, to avoid all blame

Of cruelty upon my name,

Sun, moon, and stars, the earth and To give you time for preparation,


Erewhile his portion, life, and light,

To him exist in vain.

The clouds and sunbeams, o'er his eye That once their shades and glory threw, Have left in yonder silent sky

No vestige where they flew.

The annals of the human race,
Their ruins, since the world began,
Of him afford no other trace
Than this, there lived a man!



THE tree of deepest root is found Least willing still to quit the ground: "Twas therefore said by ancient sages,

That love of life increased with years So much, that in our later stages, When pains grow sharp, and sickness rages, The greatest love of life appears. This great affection to believe, Which all confess, but few perceive, If old assertions can't prevail,— Be pleased to hear a modern tale. When sports went round, and all were gay,

On neighbor Dodson's wedding-day, Death call'd aside the jocund groom With him into another room, And looking grave-"You must," says he, "Quit your sweet bride, and come with me."

And fit you for your future station,
Three several warnings you shall have,
Before you're summon'd to the grave.
Willing for once I'll quit my prey,

In hopes you'll have no more to say,
And grant a kind reprieve,
But, when I call again this way,

Well pleased the world will leave."
To these conditions both consented,
And parted perfectly contented.

What next the hero of our tale befell,
How long he lived, how wise, how well,
How roundly he pursued his course,
And smoked his pipe, and stroked his

The willing Muse shall tell.
He chaffer'd then, he bought, he sold,
Nor once perceived his growing old,

Nor thought of Death as near;
His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
Many his gains, his children few,

He pass'd his hours in peace.
But while he view'd his wealth increase,
While thus along Life's dusty road
The beaten track content he trod,
Old Time, whose haste no mortal spares,
Uncall'd, unheeded, unawares,

Brought on his eightieth year.
And now, one night, in musing mood
As all alone he sate,
Th' unwelcome messenger of Fate
Once more before him stood.
Half kill'd with anger and surprise,
"So soon return'd!" old Dodson cries.
"So soon, d'ye call it?" Death replies

"Surely, my friend, you're but in jest!

Since I was here before
Tis six-and-thirty years at least,
And you are now fourscore."

"So much the worse," the clown rejoin'd;

"To spare the aged would be kind: However, see your search be legal; And your authority-is't regal? Else you are come on a fool's errand, With but a secretary's warrant. Besides, you promised me Three Warnings,

Which I have look'd for nights and mornings;

But for that loss of time and ease,

I can recover damages."

"I know," cries Death, "that at the


I seldom am a welcome guest; But don't be captious, friend, at least: I little thought you'd still be able To stump about your farm and stable; Your years have run to a great length; I wish you joy, though, of your strength!" "Hold," says the farmer, "not so fast! I have been lame these four years past." "And no great wonder," Death replies:

"However, you still keep your eyes; And sure, to see one's loves and friends, For legs and arms would make amends.” "Perhaps," says Dodson, "so it might, But latterly I've lost my sight."

"This is a shocking tale, 'tis true, But still there's comfort left for you: Each strives your sadness to amuse; I warrant you hear all the news." "There's none," cries he; "and if there


I'm grown so deaf I could not hear.”
"Nay, then," the spectre stern rejoin'd,
"These are unwarrantable yearnings;
If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,
You've had your three sufficient warn-

So, come along, no more we'll part;"
He said, and touch'd him with his dart.
And now old Dodson, turning pale,
Yields to his fate-so ends my tale.


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You may give over plough, boys,

You may take the gear to the stead,
All the sweat o' your brow, boys,
Will never get beer and bread.
The seed's waste, I know, boys,
There's not a blade will grow, boys,
'Tis cropp'd out, I trow, boys,
And Tommy's dead.

Send the colt to fair, boys,

He's going blind, as I said,
My old eyes can't bear, boys,

To see him in the shed;
The cow's dry and spare, boys,
She's neither here nor there, boys,
I doubt she's badly bred;
Stop the mill to-morn, boys,
There'll be no more corn, boys,

Neither white nor red;
There's no sign of grass, boys,
You may sell the goat and the ass, boys,
The land's not what it was, boys,

And the beasts must be fed:

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