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Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught ! Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought !
A PSALM OF LIFE.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream !
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest !
And the grave is not its goal ; Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow
Finds us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be a hero in the strife!
· Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead ! Act-act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o’erhead !
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labour and to wait.
THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
And the flowers that grow between.
“Shall I have nought that is fair ?" saith he;
“Have nought but the bearded grain ! Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again."
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves; It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.
“My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,”
The Reaper said, and smiled; “Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where He was once a child.
“ They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care, And saints, upon their garments white,
These sacred blossoms wear.”
And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love; She knew she should find them all again
In the fields of light above.
Oh! not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day; 'Twas an angel visited the green earth, And took the flowers away.
I stood on the bridge at midnight,
As the clocks were striking the hour, And the moon rose.o'er the city,
Behind the dark church-tower.
I saw her bright reflection
In the waters under me, Like a golden goblet falling
And sinking into the sea.
And far in the hazy distance
Of that lovely night in June, The blaze of the flaming furnace
Gleamed redder than the moon.
Among the long, black rafters
The wavering shadows lay, And the current that came from the ocean,
Seemed to lift and bear them away;
As, sweeping and eddying through them,
Rose the belated tide,
The sea-weed floated wide.
And like those waters rushing
Among the wooden piers,
That filled my eyes with tears.
How often-0, how often,
In the days that had gone by,
And gazed on that wave and sky!
How often-0, how often,
I had wished that the ebbing tide Would bear me away on its bosom,
O'er the ocean wild and wide!