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On hedge-rows, white with jessamine flowers,
And minarets o'erhung with roses.
The exile on a foreign shore
Dejected sits, and turns his eye
To thee, in beauty evermore,
Careering through a cloudless sky;
A white cloud comes, and, passing by,
Veils thee a moment from his sight;
Then, as he rests beneath the shadows,
He thinks of many as sweet a night,
When glad he roamed his native meadows.
Enthroned amid the cloudless blue,
Majestic, silent, and alone,
Above the fountains of the dew,
Thou glidest on, and glidest on,
To shoreless seas and lands unknown. The presence of thy face appears,
Thou eldest-born of Beauty's daughters!
A spirit traversing the spheres,
And ruling o'er the pathless waters.
THROUGH the hushed air the whitening shower descends,
At first thin wavering; till at last the flakes
Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day
Put on their winter robe of purest white.
'Tis brightness all, save where the new snow melts
Along the mazy current. Low the woods
Bow their hoar head; and, ere the languid sun
Faint from the west emits his evening ray,
Earth's universal face, deep hid and chill,
Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wide
The works of man. Drooping, the laborer ox
Stands covered o'er with snow, and then demands
The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which Providence assigns them. One alone,
The red-breast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,
In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man
His annual visit. Half-afraid, he first
Against the window beats; then brisk alights
On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks and starts and wonders where he is;
Till, more familiar grown, the table crumbs
Attract his slender feet. The bleating kind
Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,
With looks of dumb despair; then, sad-dispersed,
Dig for the withered herb through heaps of snow.
THE SNOW BIRDS.
How busy at work are the snow and the frost!
The wintry winds cheerlessly blow;
If a green little plant dares to peep forth its head,
It straightway is covered with snow.
In the midst of the storm from which we all shrink,
How blithely the snow bird is hopping;
So tiny, it seems that its small spark of life
Might be quenched by each flake that is dropping.
Didst thou come to tell us of sunshine and bloom,
Of the seasons so bright and pleasant ?
A messenger sent by the Genius of spring,
A link 'tween the future and present?
Or didst thou but come in a frolicking mood,
To ridicule comforts and fire;
To laugh at proud man in his vain robes of fur, "Thou poor, little, barefooted friar ?"
Sweet bird! as I watch thee so gay mid the storm, A moral instructer I see;
Teaching us amid suffering, privation, suspense, To be cheerful, confiding, like thee;
Revealing the depth of a kind Father's love;
Confirming the truth before taught,
'Mid the sternest, the dreariest season of life
The sparrow is never forgot.
I think thou art sent in this dull, cheerless day,
When all things are locked up in frost,
By thy gladness and vigor and brightness to say
That the beauty of life is not lost.
And so when adversity chills o'er our soul,
And we scarcely with sorrow can cope,
There's ever some beautiful thought left untouched,
Some teacher of heaven and hope.
Splendors beyond what gorgeous summer knows ;
Or autumn, with his many fruits and woods
All flushed with many hues. Come, when the rains
Have glazed the snow, and clothed the trees with ice;
While the slant sun of February pours
Into the bowers a flood of light. Approach!
The encrusted surface shall bear up thy steps,
And the broad arching portals of the grove
Welcome thy entering. Look! the massy trunks
Are cased in the pure crystal; each light spray,
Nodding and tinkling in the breath of heaven,
Is studded with its trembling water-drops,
That stream with rainbow radiance as they move.
But round the parent stem the long low boughs
Bend in a glittering ring, and arbors hide
The grassy floor. Oh! you might deem the spot
The spacious cavern of a virgin mine,
Deep in the breast of earth-where the gems grow,
And diamonds put forth radiant rods, and bud
With amethyst and topaz-and the place
Lit up most royally, with the pure beam
That dwells in them. Or haply the vast hall
Of fairy palace, that outlasts the night,
And fades not in the glory of the sun;
Where crystal columns send forth slender shafts
And crossing arches; and fantastic aisles
Wind from the sight in brightness, and are lost
Among the crowded pillars. Raise thine eye-
Thou seest no cavern roof, no palace vault;
There the blue sky and the white drifting cloud
Look in. Again the wildered fancy dreams
Of spouting fountains frozen as they rose,
And fixed, with all their branching jets, in air,
And all their sluices sealed. All, all, is light;
Light without shade. But all shall pass away
With the next sun.
From numberless vast trunks
Loosened, the crushing ice shall make a sound
Like the far roar of rivers, and the eve
Shall close o'er the brown woods as it was wont.