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My life is like the autumn leaf
That trembles in the moon's pale ray,
Its hold is frail-its date is brief,
Restless-and soon to pass away!
Yet, when that leaf shall fall and fade,
The parent tree will mourn its shade,
The wind bewail the leafless tree,
But none shall breathe one sigh for me!
My life is like the track of feet
Left upon Tampa's desert strand;
Soon as the rising tide shall beat,
Their marks shall vanish from the sand;
Yet, as if grieving to efface
All vestige of the human race,
On that lone shore loud moans the sea,
But none shall thus lament for me!"
SAMUEL BARTLETT PARRIS
Was the son of the Rev. Martin Parris of Mansfield, and was born at Kingston, Massachusetts, January 30th, 1806. He received his early education from his father, and exhibited a most extraordinary and precocious aptitude for learning. He began the study of languages at the age of six. At ten years of age he was examined for admission to college, and the professors held him in their arms while he construed Virgil, Cicero, and the Greek Testament. He was pronounced fit for admission, but on account of his youth he returned home and did not enter the university for two years. He was graduated at the age of fifteen, and entered upon the study of medicine the year after. He received a medical degree in 1825, and began his practice at Attleborough in Massachusetts. He died September 21st, 1827, at the age of 21. A collection of his writings in verse and prose was published a few months since.
FROM THE TOMB OF WASHINGTON, PRESENTED TO THE AUTHOR.
THE meadow may boast of its thousand dyes,
For their varied splendors are far before thee;
But still more fair in the patriot's eyes
Is the humblest branch from the trunk that bore thee;
For the place where it grows is a sacred spot,
With remembrance of high achievements fraught.
Thou didst not thrive on the blood of the slave,
Whom the reeking sword of oppression slaughter'd;
But the grateful tears of the good and brave,
With a purer stream thy roots have water'd-
And green didst thou grow o'er the hero's bed,
When the tears of his patriot son* were shed.
Say, where wert thou half an age ago,
When terrors were thronging around our nation-
Where our land, by the word of its haughty foe,
Was mark'd with the sentence of desolation-
When the banner of freedom was wide unfurl'd
On the natal day of this western world- ́
When our fathers spared no pain nor toil,
To purchase the blessing for their descendants,
And seal'd with their blood on their native soil
Their claim to the glory of Independence-
When Life, Wealth, Honor, were all at stake
That the holy cause they would not forsake.
Perhaps thou wast by the side of thy sire,
Whose branch to the breeze had for ages trembled,
Where gather'd around the council-fire
The chiefs of the tawny tribes assembled,-
Or it might have shaded the hunter's track
On the lonely banks of the Potomac.
And long on the place of the hero's sleep
May flourish the trunk, whence thou wert taken,
But a grateful nation his name shall keep,
This was written soon after La Fayette visited the tomb of Washington.
When lifeless and bare, of its leaves forsaken,
The trunk and the branch to the earth are cast
Before the might of the rushing blast.
For in distant ages the day shall come,
When the vengeance of time its pride shall humble-
And the arch of the proud mausoleum
O'er the mouldering urn of the dead shall crumble-
But till the last moment of time hath run
Shall live the remembrance of Washington.
Ah! soon must branches like thine be spread
O'er another's tomb-and o'er yet another's-
For now from the sorrows of earth have fled,
As with one accord, two patriot brothers,*
Whom heaven in mercy hath given to see
The day of their nation's Jubilee.
O! sadly, in tears sunk down, that day,
The sun, in the distant west declining-
But still in a holier splendor they
With their latest beams on earth were shining,
When they were call'd from earth to remove,
And shine in the realms of the blest above.
Or Portland. The following piece is from the Legendary.
HAs thy foot ever trod that silent dell?—
"T is a place for the voiceless thought to swell,
And the eloquent song to go up unspoken,
Like the incense of flowers whose urns are broken;
And the unveil'd heart may look in and see,
In that deep, strange silence, its motions free,
And learn how the pure in spirit feel
That unseen Presence to which they kneel.
No sound goes up from the quivering trees,
When they spread their arms to the welcome breeze,
They wave in the zephyr, they bow to the blast,
But they breathe not a word of the power that pass'd;
And their leaves come down on the turf and the stream,
With as noiseless a fall as the step of a dream;
And the breath that is bending the grass and the flowers
Moves o'er them as lightly as evening hours.
The merry bird lights down on that dell,
And hushing his breath, lest the song should swell,
Sits with folded wing, in the balmy shade,
Like a musical thought in the soul unsaid;
And they of strong pinion and loftier flight
Pass over that valley, like clouds in the night-
They move not a wing in that solemn sky,
But sail in a reverent silence by.
The deer in his flight has pass'd that way,
And felt the deep spell's mysterious sway-
He hears not the rush of the path he cleaves,
Nor his bounding step on the trampled leaves.
The hare goes up on that sunny hill-
And the footsteps of morning are not more still.
And the wild, and the fierce, and the mighty are there-
Unheard in the hush of that slumbering air.
The stream rolls down in that valley serene,
Content in its beautiful flow to be seen;
And its fresh, flowery banks, and its pebbly bed
Were never yet told of its fountain-head.
And it still rushes on-but they ask not why;
With its smile of light it is hurrying by;
Still gliding or leaping, unwhisper'd, unsung,
Like the flow of bright fancies it flashes along.
The wind sweeps by, and the leaves are stirr'd,
But never a whisper or sigh is heard;
And when its strong rush laid low the oak,
Not a murmur the eloquent stillness broke;
And the gay young echoes, those mockers that lie
In the dark mountain sides, make no reply ;
But hush'd in their caves, they are listening still
For the songs of that valley to burst o'er the hill.
I love society; I am o'erblest to hear
The mingling voices of a world; mine ear
Drinks in their music with a spiritual taste;
I love companionship on life's gray waste,
And might not live unheard ;-yet that still vale-
It had no fearful mystery in its tale-
Its hush was grand, not awful-as if there
The voice of nature were a breathing prayer.
'T was like a holy temple, where the pure
Might join in their hush'd worship, and be sure
No sound of earth could come-a soul kept still,
In faith's unanswering meekness, for Heaven's will-
Its eloquent thoughts sent upward and abroad,
But all its deep, hush'd voices kept for God!
THE earth it was gay,
And the air was bland
With the summer ray
Of a sunny land;
And the evening hour
Of soul-witching power,
With her radiant train,
Lit the earth and main;
When a beautiful barque was seen to glide,
Like a fairy sylph on the silver tide;
Not a zephyr breathed in her snow-white sails,
What cared she for the prospering gales?
Full many a rower was plying the oar,
And she was flying away from the shore,
To wander alone on the trackless deep,
While the world was hush'd in a breathless sleep.