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Spirits who suffered at that hour
For freedom and for faith!
Ye saw your country bent beneath the yoke,
And like a giant from his sleep
Ye saw the people burst their double chain,
O READER! hast thou ever stood to see
The eye that contemplates it well perceives
Ordered by an Intelligence so wise
Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen,
No grazing cattle through their prickly round
But, as they grow where nothing is to fear, Smooth and unarmed the pointless leaves appear.
I love to view these things with curious eyes,
And in this wisdom of the Holly-tree
Can emblem see
Wherewith perchance to make a pleasant rhyme, One which may profit in the after-time.
Thus, though abroad perchance I might appear Harsh and austere,
To those who on my leisure would intrude
Gentle at home amid my friends I'd be,
And should my youth, as youth is apt I know, Some harshness show,
All vain asperities I day by day
Would wear away
Till the smooth temper of my age should be
And as, when all the summer trees are seen
The Holly-leaves a sober hue display
But when the bare and wintry woods we see, What then so cheerful as the Holly-tree?
So serious should my youth appear among
So would I seem, amid the young and gay,
That in my age as cheerful I might be
SLOWLY thy flowing tide Came in, old Avon! Scarcely did mine eyes, As watchfully I roamed thy greenwood-side, Perceive its gentle rise.
Now down thine ebbing tide
With many a stroke and strong
The laboring boatmen upward plied their oars; Yet little way they made, though laboring long Between thy winding shores.
Now o'er the rocks, that lay
So silent late, the shallow current roars;
Avon! I gaze, and know
The lesson emblemed in thy varying way:
Kingdoms which long have stood,
And slow to strength and power attained at last, Thus from the summit of high Fortune's flood They ebb to ruin fast.
Thus like thy flow appears
Time's tardy course to manhood's envied stage; Alas, how hurryingly the ebbing years
Then hasten to old age!
THE COMPLAINTS OF THE POOR.
· AND wherefore do the Poor complain?"
"Come walk abroad with me,” I said,
'Twas evening, and the frozen streets
And we were wrapt and coated well, And yet we were a-cold.
We met an old, bareheaded man;
The cold was keen indeed, he said;
We met a young, barefooted child,
And she begged loud and bold: I asked her what she did abroad When the wind it blew so cold.
She said her father was at home,
We saw a woman sitting down
She had a baby at her back,
I asked her why she loitered there When the night-wind was so chill: