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THE ASPEN LEAF.
I would not be A leaf on yonder aspen tree ; In every fickle breeze to play, Wildly, weakly, idly gay, So feebly framed, so lightly hung, By the wing of an insect stirred and swung; Thrilling even to å readbreast's note, Drooping if only a light mist float, Brightened and dimmed like a varying glass As shadow or sunbeam chance to pass ;I would not be A leaf on yonder aspen tree. It is not because the autumn sere Would change my merry guise and cheer,That soon, full soon, nor leaf nor stem, Sunlight would gladden, or dewdrop gem, That I, with my fellows, must fall to earth, Forgotten our beauty and breezy mirth, Or else on the bough where all had grown, Must linger on, and linger alone; Might life be an endless summer's day, And I be for ever green and gay, I would not be, I would not be A leaf on yonder aspen tree !
Proudly spoken, heart of mine,
TO THE IVY,
Oh! how could fancy crown with thee
In ancient days, the god of wine, And bid thee at the banquet be
Companion of the vine ? Thy home, wild plant, is where each sound
Of revelry hath long been o'er, Where song's full notes once pealed around,
But now are heard no more.
The Roman, on his battle-plains,
Where kings before his Eagles bent,
Around the victor's tent;
Triumphantly thy boughs might wave,
Around the victor's grave.
Where sleep the sons of ages flown,
The bards and heroes of the pastWhere, through the halls of glory gone,
Murmurs the wintry blast ; Where years are hast'ning to efface
Each record of the grand and fair, Thou in thy solitary grace,
Wreath of the tomb! art there,
Thou, o'er the shrines of fallen gods
On classic plains dost mantling spread, And veil the desolate abodes
And cities of the dead. Deserted palaces of kings,
Arches of triumph, long o'erthrown, And all once glorious earthly things,
At length are thine alone.
Oh! many a temple, once sublime,
Beneath the blue, Italian sky, Hath nought of beauty left by time,
Save thy wild tapestry : And, reared 'midst crags and clouds, 'tis thine
To wave where banners waved of yore ; O’er mould'ring towers, by lovely Rhine,
Cresting the rocky shore.
High from the fields of air look down
Those eyries of a vanished race,
Hath passed, and left no trace.
Unchanged the mountain-storm can brave, Thou that wilt climb the loftiest height,
And deck the humblest grave.
The breathing forms of Parian stone,
That rise round grandeur's marble halls, The vivid hues, by painting thrown
Rich o'er the glowing walls ;
Th’ Acanthus, on Corinthian fanes,
In sculptured beauty waving fair ; These perish all-and what remains ?
Thou, thou alone, art there!
'Tis still the same where'er we tread,
The wrecks of human pow'r we see, The marvels of all ages fled,
· Left to decay and thee! And still let man his fabrics rear,
August in beauty, grace and strength, Days pass-thou, Ivy, never sere,
And all is thine at length!
ODE ON THE DEATH OF NAPOLEON.
Soul of dread sublimity!
Hast thou burst thy prison bands,
Where thou must-thou wilt be free:
Tyrants ! cowards ! mark the day,
Shall live with endless infamy!