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Thou tedious herald of more tedious prayers !
Say, dost thou ever summon from his rest
Or rouse one pious transport in the breast?
I love the bell that calls the poor to pray,
Chiming from village church its cheerful sound,
And all the rustic train are gathered round,
And when, dim shadowing o'er the face of day,
The mantling mists of eventide rise slow,
The minster curfew's sullen voice I know,
and love its solemn toll to hear,
Nor with an idle nor unwilling ear
Do I receive the early passing-bell ;
When I lie listening to the dead man's knell,
But thou, memorial of monastic gall !
What fancy sad or lightsome hast thon given ?
Thy vision-scaring sounds alone recall
The prayer that trembles on a yawn to heaven.
God of the torch, whose soul-illuming flame
Of many a woe the cure,
To thee I sing, if haply may the Muse
I pour the song to thee, though haply doomed
Though doomed perchance to die
Yet will the lark, albeit in cage inthralled,
As wide his cheerful beams
When high in heaven she hears the carolling,
And hails the beam of joy, –
Friend to each better feeling of the soul !
many a Virtue comes To join thy happy train.
Lured by the splendor of thy sacred torch,
And leads his willing slaves
And chastened Friendship comes, whose mildest
The fading flame of Love,
Parent of every bliss ! the busy hand
How calm, how clear, thy torch
Will paint the weary laborer at that hour,
Returning blithely home
Will paint the well-trimmed fire; the frugal meal,
The ruddy children round
And oft will Fancy rise above the lot
Nor rich nor poor enjoys
When toil no longer irksome and constrained
the still hour
Why, Fancy! wilt thou, o'er the lovely scene
Soothe sad reality
Turn thou thine eyes to where the hallowed light
Along her mystic paths,
Lead calmly on along the unvaried path
Is it not happiness
Well, then, is he whose unimbittered years
If Life hath little joy,
Death hath for him no sting. OXFORD, 1794.
WRITTEN ON THE FIRST OF DECEMBER.
Though now no more the musing ear
I love thee, Winter! well.
Sweet are the harmonies of Spring,
The many-colored grove ;
And pleasant to the sobered soul
In deep tranquillity.
Not undelightful now to roam
The forest's ample rounds ;