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old? Older than we are, their hollow stems are covered with rejoicing leaves. The birds build among their bowering branches, rather than in the lighter shade of the saplings. Nature has no voice that wounds the self-love; her coldest wind nips no credulous affection. She alone has the same faith in our age as in our youth. The friend with whom we once took sweet counsel we have left in the crowd, a stranger, perhaps a foe. The woman in whose eyes, some twenty years ago, a paradise seemed to open in the midst of a fallen world, we passed the other day with a frigid bow. She wore rouge and false hair. But those wildflowers under the hedge-rows, those sparkles in the happy waters, no friendship has gone from them; their beauty has no simulated freshness; their smile no fraudulent deceit.
But there is a deeper truth than all this, in the influence which Nature gains over us in proportion as life withdraws itself from struggle and contention. We are placed on earth for a certain period to fulfill, according to our several conditions and degrees of minds, those duties by which the earth's history is carried on. Desk and warehouse, factory and till, forum and senate, schools of science and art, arms and letters; by these we beautify and enrich our common habitation; by these we defend, bind together, exalt the destinies of our common race. And during this period the mind is wisely fitted less to contemplate than to act, less to repose than to toil. The great stream of worldly life needs attrition along its banks in order to maintain the law that regulates the movements of its waves. But when that period of action approaches towards its close, the soul, for which is decreed an existence beyond the uses of earth, an existence aloof from desk and warehouse, factory and till, forum and senate, schools of science and art, arms and letters, gradually relaxes its hold of former objects, and, insensibly perhaps to itself, is attracted nearer toward the divine source of all being, in the increasing witchery which Nature, distinct from man, reminds it of its independence of the crowd from which it begins to re-emerge.
And in connection with this spiritual process, it is noticeable how intuitively in age we go back with strange fondness to all that is fresh in the earliest dawn of youth. If we never cared for little children before, we delight to see them roll in the grass over which we hobble on crutches. The grandsire turns wearily from his middle-aged, care-worn son, to listen with infant laugh to the prattle of an infant grand-child. It is the old who plant young trees; it is the old who are most saddened by autumn, and feel most delight in the returning spring.
And, in the exquisite delicacy with which hints of the invisible eternal future are conveyed to us, may not that instinctive sympathy, with which life in age rounds its completing circle towards the point at which it touches the circle of life in childhood, be a benign intimation that
“ Denth is naught
But the soul's birth, and so we should it call." And may there be no meaning more profound than the obvious interpretation in the sacred words, “ Make yourselves as little children, for of such is the kingdom of heaven”?
SIR EDWARD BULWER, LORD LYTTOX.
(From "The Faery Queen.") o forth issew'd the seasons of the yeare: That sweetly sung to call forth paraFirst, lusty Spring all dight in leaves
mours; and flowres
And in his hand a iavelin he did beare, That freshly budded and new bloosmes did And on his head (as fit for warlike stoures) beare,
A guilt engraven morion he did weare; In which a thousand birds had built their That as some did him love, so others did him bowres
The sweat did drop; and in his hand he Had by the belly oft him pinched sore; bore
Upon his head a wreath, that was enroled A bowe and shaftes, as he in forrest greene With eares of corne of every sort, he bore; Had hunted late the libberd or the bore,
And in his hand a sickle he did Ide, And now would bathe his limbs with labor To reape the ripened fruits the which the heated sore.
earth had yold.
Lastly came Winter clothed all in frize,
In his right hand a tipped staffe he held, Chattering his teeth for cold that did him With which his feeble steps he stayed chill,
still; Whilst on his boary beard his breath did For he was faint with cold, and weak with freese,
eld, And the dull drops, that from his purpled That scarce his loose limbes he able was to bill
weld. As from a limbeck did adown distil;
(From “ The Revolt of Islam," Canto IX.) THE blasts of 'Autumn drive the winged Thy mother's dying smile, tender and sweet; seeds
Thy mother Autumn, for whose grave thou Over the earth; next come the snows, and
Fresh flowers, and beams like flowers, with And frost, and storms, which dreary Winter
gentle feet, leads
Disturbing not the leaves which are her windOut of his Scythian cave, a savage train.
ing sheet. Behold! Spring sweeps over the world
again, Shedding soft dews from her ethereal wings; Virtue, and Hope, and Love, like light and Flowers on the mountain, fruits over the
Surround the world; we are their chosen And music on the waves and woods she flings,
slaves. And love on all that lives, and calm on lifeless Has not the whirlwind of our spirit driven things.
Truth's deathless germs to thought's remot
est caves ? O Spring! of hope, and love, and youth, and Lo, Winter comes! the grief of many gladness,
graves, Wind-winged emblem ! brightest, best and The frost of death, the tempest of the fairest!
sword, Whence comest thou, when, with dark Win The flood of tyranny, whose sanguine waves ter's sadness,
Stagnate like ice at Faith, the enchanter's The tears that fade in sunny smiles thou
And bind all human hearts in its repose Sister of Joy! thou art the child who wear
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY,
IN THE OCTOBER FIELDS. SHE bright-robed days sit now at feast, And Hope's clear bugle on the hills is blown
By comely lips made moist with fruity stains. From golden service heaped with fruits divine;
Shall we be found less generous to our souls The waning year drinks from October's cup
Than are the seasons to the patient earth? The melancholy cheer of autumn's wine.
Shall we yet choose to drift in mental shoals
Where weak-winged fancies only find a A ruddier tide now fills the tingling veins
birth? And life takes on a sturdier-hearted tone, Care's hungering grasp the mounting soul dis- Shall we be found more niggard of our store dains,
Than are the flame-crowned princes of the And scorns to count the sorrows she hath wood, known.
While at our heart's inhospitable door What matters it if summer's birds have flown, A brother faints for some withholden good? And rustling leaves drift on the upland plains? Though Nature's wide arms bear her precious The richest gifts of Nature kept unshared grains
Become but poverty; goods unbestowed, To fragrant hidden garners of her own, Like fruits ungathered, shrivel into blight, Yet what her lavish hand hath spilled re- Which mars the soul's new blossoming; the mains,
road For careful gleaning is to her unknown; Of excellence was by some god prepared From her full hand her ripened seeds are
So that no souls might win the glorious thrown
height On springing fields late freshened from the Save those unweighted by that hindering load. the rains,
ROBERT BURNS Wilson.
(From "Shadow Brook," in "Wonder Book.") °HE sun was now an hour or two beyond its noontide mark, and filled the great hollow
of the valley with its western radiance, so that it seemed to be brimming with mellow light, and to spill it over the surrounding hillsides, like golden wine out of a bowl. It
was such a day that you could not help saying of it, “ There never was such a day before!” although yesterday was just such a day, and tomorrow will be just such another. Ah, but there are very few of them in a twelvemonth's circle! It is a remarkable peculiarity of these October days that each of them seems to occupy a great deal of space, although the sun rises rather tardily at that season of the year, and goes to bed, as little children ought, at sober six o'clock, or even earlier. We cannot, therefore, call the days long; but they appear, somehow or other, to make up for their shortness by their breadth ; and when the cool night comes, we are conscious of having enjoyed a big armful of life, since morning.
A SONG IN OCTOBER. H, hear ye not a voice that comes a-sing- “ Home, shepherds; home, sheep; Winter ing through the trees,
cometh near: Across the mead and down the dell, along the Wither, flowers; fall, leaves; days will soon dying breeze?
be drear." And hear ye not the burden of its melancholy And hear ye not another voice a-sighing o'er song,
the main, Upon the lingering winds of Autumn sadly Across the surf, along the beach, a monody of borne along ?