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LIKE to the falling of the star,
Or as the flights of eagles are,
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew,
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood -
E'en such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in, and paid to-night.
The wind blows out, the bubble dies,
The spring entombed in autumn lies,
The dew dries up, the star is shot,
The flight is past—and man forgot!

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Like to the grass that's newly sprung,
Or like a tale that's new begun,
Or like the bird that 's here to-day,
Or like the pearled dew of May,
Or like an hour, or like a span,
Or like the singing of a swan —
E'en such is man, who lives by breath,

Is here, now there, in life and death.—
The grass withers, the tale is ended,
The bird is flown, the dew 's ascended,
The hour is short, the span is long,
The swan 's near death-man's life is done!

Like to a bubble in the brook,

Or in a glass much like a look,
Or like a shuttle in a weaver's hand,

Or like the writing on the sand,
Or like a thought, or like a dream,
Or like the gliding of a stream;
WE'en such is man, who lives by breath,
Is here, now there, in life and death.
The bubble 's out, the look 's forgot,
The shuttle's flung, the writing's blot,
The thought is past, the dream is gone,
The water glides — man's life is done!

Like to a blaze of fond delight, Or like a morning clear and bright, Or like a frost, or like a shower, Or like the pride of Babel's tower, Or like the hour that guides the time, Or like to Beauty in her prime; E'en such is man, whose glory lends That life a blaze or two, and ends. The morn's o'ercast, joy turned to pain, The frost is thawed, dried up the rain, The tower falls, the hour is run, The beauty lost - man's life is done!

Like to an arrow from the bow,
Or like swift course of water-flow,
Or like that time 'twixt flood and ebb,
Or like the spider's tender web,

Or like a race, or like a goal,

Or like the dealing of a dole;

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Like to the lightning from the sky, Or like a post that quick doth hie, Or like a quaver in a short song, Or like a journey three days long, Or like the snow when summer's come, Or like the pear, or like the plum; E'en such is man, who heaps up sorrow, Lives but this day, and dies to-morrow. The lightning's past, the post must go, The song is short, the journey 's so, The pear doth rot, the plum doth fall, The snow dissolves and so must all!


And with them the being beauteous Who unto my youth was given, More than all things else to love me, And is now a saint in heaven.

With a slow and noiseless footstep Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me, Lays her gentle hand in mine;

And she sits and gazes at me

With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saint-like Looking downward from the skies.

Uttered not, yet comprehended, Is the spirit's voiceless prayer, Soft rebukes, in blessings ended, Breathing from her lips of air.

Oh, though oft depressed and lonely,
All my fears are laid aside,

If I but remember only

Such as these have lived and died! HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.

Footsteps of Angels.

WHEN the hours of day are numbered,
And the voices of the night
Wake the better soul that slumbered
To a holy, calm delight-

Ere the evening lamps are lighted, And, like phantoms grim and tall, Shadows from the fitful fire-light Dance upon the parlor-wall:

Then the forms of the departed Enter at the open doorThe beloved, the true-hearted,

Come to visit me once more:

He, the young and strong, who cherished
Noble longings for the strife,

By the road-side fell and perished,
Weary with the march of life!

They, the holy ones and weakly,

Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly, Spake with us on earth no more!

The Sunrise never Failed us yet.

UPON the sadness of the sea
The sunset broods regretfully;
From the far lonely spaces, slow
Withdraws the wistful after-glow.

So out of life the splendor dies;
So darken all the happy skies;
So gathers twilight, cold and stern;
But overhead the planets burn;

And up the east another day

Shall chase the bitter dark away;
What though our eyes with tears be wet ?
The sunrise never failed us yet.

The blush of dawn may yet restore
Our light and hope and joy once more.
Sad soul, take comfort, nor forget
That sunrise never failed us yet!


The Burial of the Poet.


In the old churchyard of his native town,
And in the ancestral tomb beside the wall,
We laid him in the sleep that comes to all,
And left him to his rest and his renown.
The snow was falling as if heaven dropped down
White flowers of paradise to strew his pall:-
The dead around him seemed to wake, and call
His name, as worthy of so white a crown.
And now the moon is shining on the scene,
And the broad sheet of snow is written o'er
With shadows cruciform of leafless trees,
As once the winding-sheet of Saladin
With chapters of the Koran; but, ah! more
Mysterious and triumphant signs are these.


Thou wert lovely on thy Bier.

THEY say that thou wert lovely on thy bier,
More lovely than in life; that when the thrall
Of earth was tossed, it seemed as though a pall
Of years were lifted, and thou didst appear
Such as of old amidst thy home's calm sphere
Thou sat'st, a kindly presence felt by all
In joy or grief, from morn to evening fall,
The peaceful genius of that mansion dear.
Was it the craft of all-persuading love
That wrought this marvel ? or is death indeed
A mighty matter, gifted from above
With alchemy benign, to wounded hearts
Ministering thus, by quaint and subtle arts,
Strange comfort, whereon after-thought may feed.


Of mortal glory, O soon darkened ray!

O winged joys of man, more swift than wind!

O fond desires, which in our fancies stray!

O trait'rous hopes, which do our judgments blind!
Lo, in a flash that light is gone away
Which dazzle did each eye, delight each mind,

And, with that sun from whence it came combined,

Now makes more radiant heaven's eternal day.
Let Beauty now bedew her cheeks with tears;
Let widowed Music only roar and groan;
Poor Virtue, get thee wings and mount the spheres,
For dwelling-place on earth for thee is none!
Death hath thy temple razed, Love's empire foiled,
The world of honor, worth, and sweetness spoiled.

A Wish.

I ASK not that my bed of death
From bands of greedy heirs be free;
For these besiege the latest breath
Of fortune's favored sons, not me.

I ask not each kind soul to keep

Tearless, when of my death he hears. Let those who will, if any, weep! There are worse plagues on earth than tears.

I ask but that my death may find
The freedom to my life denied ;
Ask but the folly of mankind

Then, then at last, to quit my side.

Spare me the whispering, crowded room, The friends who come, and gape, and go; The ceremonious air of gloom

All, which makes death a hideous show!

Nor bring, to see me cease to live,

Some doctor full of phrase and fame, To shake his sapient head, and give The ill he can not cure a name.

Nor fetch, to take the accustomed toll Of the poor sinner bound for death, His brother-doctor of the soul,

To canvass with official breath

The future and its viewless things

That undiscovered mystery

Which one who feels death's winnowing wings Must needs read clearer, sure, than he!

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Thou, Love, taught'st me, by appointing me To love there where no love received can be, Only to give to such as have an incapacity.

My faith I give to Roman Catholics; All my good works unto the schismatics Of Amsterdam; my best civility And courtship, to an university; My modesty I give to shoulders bare; My patience let gamesters share. Thou, Love, taught'st me, by making me Love her that holds my love disparity, Only to give to those that count my gifts indignity.

I give my reputation to those

Which were my friends; my industry to foes;
To schoolmen I bequeath my doubtfulness;
My sickness to physicians, or excess;
To Nature, all that I in rhyme have writ;
And to my company my wit;
Thou, Love, by making me adore

Her who begot this love in me before, Taught'st me to make as though I gave, when I did but restore.

To him for whom the passing-bell next tolls

I give my physic-books; my written rolls

Of moral counsels I to Bedlam give;

My brazen medals, unto them which live In want of bread; to them which pass among All foreigners, my English tongue. Thou, Love, by making me love one Who thinks her friendship a fit portion For younger lovers, dost my gifts thus disproportion.

Therefore I'll give no more; but I'll undo
The world by dying; because love dies too.
Then all your beauties will be no more worth
Than gold in mines, where none doth draw it

And all your graces no more use shall have
Than a sun-dial on a grave.

Thou, Love, taughtest me, by making me
Love her who doth neglect both me and

To invent and practise this one way to annihilate all three.


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