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I Ve often watched thy streaming sand,
Its conic crown
Still sliding down, Again heaped up, then down again; The sand above more hollow grew, Like days and years still filtering through,
And mingling joy and pain.
While thus I spin and sometimes sing, (For now and then my heart will glow,) Thou measur'st Time's expanding wing; By thee the noontide hour I know;
Though silent thou,
Still shalt thou flow,
Thou gett'st a holiday.
Steady as truth, on either end
Come, lovely May!
Thy lengthened day Shall gild once more my native plain; Curl inward here, sweet woodbine-flower; Companion of the lonely hour,
I '11 tur.i thee u t again.
224 THE MEN OF OLD.
HYMN TO DIANA.— Jonson, bora in 1674.
Queene, and huntrrsse, chaste, and faiie,
Earth, let not thy impious shade
Lay thy bow of pearle apart,
THE MEN OF OLD. — MUnes.
I know not that the men of old
Were better than men now,
Of heart more kind, of hand more bold,
Of more ingenuous brow;
I heed not those who pine perforce
A ghost of Time to raise,
As if they could check the course
Of these appointed days.
Still it is true, and over true,
With rights, though not too closely scanned,
Enjoyed as far as known, — With will by no reverse unmanned, — With pulse of even tone, — They from to-day and from to-night Expected nothing more Than yesterday and yesternight Had proffered them before.
To them was life a simple art
Of duties to be done,
A game where each man took his part,
A race where all must run;
A battle whose great scheme and scope
They little cared to know,
Content, as men-at-arms, to cope
Each with his fronting foe.
Man now his virtue's diadem Puts on and proudly wears;Great thoughts, great feelings, came to them, Like instincts, unawares: Blending their souls' sublimest needs With tasks of every day,
They went about their gravest deeds
As noble boys at play.
226 THE WORTH OF HOURS.
And what if Nature's fearful wound They did not probe and bare, — For that their spirits never swooned To watch the misery there, — For that their love but flowed more fast, Their charities more free, Not conscious what mere drops they cast Into the evil sea.
A man's best things are nearest him,
Lie close about his feet;
It is the distant and the dim
That we are sick to greet:
For flowers that grow our hands beneath,
We struggle and aspire, —
Our hearts must die, except they breathe
The air of fresh Desire.
Yet, Brothers, who up Reason's hill
Advance with hopeful cheer, —
O, loiter not! those heights are chill,—
As chill as they are clear;
And still restrain your haughty gaze,
The loftier that ye go,
Remembering distance leaves a haze
On all that lies below.
THE WORTH OF HOURS. - MUnes.
Believe not that your inner eye
Can ever in just measure try
The worth of Hours as they go by:
For every man's weak self, alas! Makes him to see them, while they pass, As through a dim or tinted glass:
But if in earnest care you would
Those surely are not fairly spent,
And more, —though free from seeming harrr,
You rest from toil of mind or arm,
Or slow retire from Pleasure's charm, —
If then a painful sense comes on
Of something from your being's chain
So should we live, that every Hour
That every Thought and every Deed
Esteeming Sorrow, whose employ