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BY CHARLES SPRAGUE
WHEN from the sacred garden driven,
Man fled before his Maker's wrath,
An Angel left her place in heaven,
And crossed the wanderer's sunless path.
'Twas Art! sweet Art! new radiance broke,
Where her light foot flew o'er the ground,
And thus with seraph voice she spoke,
"The Curse a Blessing shall be found.'
She led him through the trackless wild,
Where noontide sunbeam never blazed;-
The thistle shrunk--the harvest smiled,
And nature gladdened as she gazed.
Earth's thousand tribes of living things,
At Art's command to him are given,
The village grows, the city springs,
And point their spires of faith to heaven.
He rends the oak-and bids it ride,
To guard the shores its beauty graced;
He smites the rock-upheaved in pride,
See towers of strength and donies of taste.
Earth's teeming caves their wealth reveal,
Fire bears his banner on the wave,
He bids the mortal poison heal,
And leaps triumphant o'er the grave.
He plucks the pearls that stud the deep,
Admiring Beauty's lap to fill;
He breaks the stubborn marble's sleep,
And mocks his own Creator's skill.
With thoughts that fill his glowing soul,
He bids the ore illume the page,
And proudly scorning time's control,
Commerces with an unborn age.
In fields of air he writes his name,
And treads the chambers of the sky,
He reads the stars, and grasps the flame
That quivers round the Throne on high
In war renowned, in peace sublime,
He moves in greatness and in grace;
His power subduing space and time,
Links realm to realm, and race to race.
It is a sultry day; the sun has drank
The dew that lay upon the morning grass;
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. The plants around
Feel the too potent fervors; the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scorching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven,—
Their bases on the mountains-their white tops
Shining in the far ether-fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer's eye away. For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,
Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays its coming. Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life. Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now,
Among the nearer groves, chestnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes'
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in waves!
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds
And universal motion. He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on their fragrance; and he brings
Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs,
And sound of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs
Are stirring in his breath; a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and borders of the brook,
Nod gaily to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break
Into small waves and sparkle as he comes.
Ar! pull her tattered ensign down,
Long has it waved on high,
And many a heart has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar—
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the conqueror's tread
Or know the conquered knee;
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
Oh better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep
And there should be her grave.
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms-
The lightning and the gale!
On the deep is the mariner's danger,
On the deep is the mariner's death;
Who to fear of the tempest a stranger,
Sees the last bubble burst of his breath?
"Tis the sea-bird, sea-bird, sea-bird,
Lone looker on despair,
The sea-bird, sea-bird, sea-bird,
The only witness there.