Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

To-morrow comes,- the swallow race
Reck not,- they leave these scenes behind,
While I hope here through life to pass,

And here a grave to find.

See, from these elms the bounds you trace
Which girdle in my parsonage;
Own, friend, — that in a pleasant place

Hath fall’n my heritage !

Unhasped, there swings my rustic gate;
Enter, and see what, in his wane,
The ripening sun hath done of late

Within my small domain.

My shrubs encroach upon my walks ;
My flower-beds are a wilderness
Of seeded husks and rampant stalks-

A tangled, self-willed mass.

The vine, that wraps my wall, and craves
For entrance at each casement nook,
Has lost the deep green of its leaves,

And wears a tarnished look;

The clusters now more obvious are,
Each venturing from its summer hold,
Mark what a sunward tinge they bear -

A flush of flamy gold.

Nor let me, thankless, fail to point
That other vine, whose lowlier stems
Are hung at every knot and joint

With amethystine gems.

Live we not in a verdant bower?
That calm delight of Paradise,
Which flowed from tending fruit and flower,

My garden-plot supplies.

-Such were the topics which obtained
Place in our desultory talk,
As, followed by a college friend,

I led the homeward walk.

It was by merest accident
That I had won him for a guest,
For, when I met him, he was bent

On travel to the West.

My saunter had conducted me
Where the mail passes every day,–
I saw him in it, and my plea

Persuaded him to stay.

He still was dwelling lingeringly
In Oxford's crowded solitude
('T is such to yearning hearts), while I

Had left the brotherhood;

Long left the college, well content
To take this pastoral benefice,
And gained my Mary's frank consent

An humble board to bless.

Studies severe, since we had met,
Had wrought upon his every feature,
Furrowing a polished brow,—and yet

No book-worm he by nature.

Pure thoughts, quick feelings, homage high
For Nature's every oracle,
These had been his- and did not die

In his monastic cell.

Such was the friend to whom

my

stock
Of simple pleasures I produced,
Nor feared to feel the numbing shock
Of sympathy refused.

-Come, friend, examine all within,
There's comfort in my little nest,
Nor wants there proof of genuine,

Although uncostly taste.

We lack no charm which music makes,
That chest-like frame of hidden strings
Beneath my Mary's fingers wakes

Responsive as she sings.

The walls betray my pencil's work;
Yet with it Mary's needle may
Boast rivalry; no tints can lurk
Unsubject to her

sway.

See, by our hearth, her flowers endure
The winter through on rug and cushion ;
Yea, all the adapted furniture,

Her choice or execution.

And she,— this casket's single gem,-
Who brightens 'neath her husband's glance,
And, moon-like, radiates light on them,

Who share his countenance;

She (all unweeting) will prevail,
In making you this truth confess,—
If woes the married state assail,

The single knows not bliss !

Hail, wedded love! thy constant flame,
Like that of lamps of yore entombed,
Nor age's palsying hand can tame,

Nor is it self-consumed!

Look round, I call this room my own,
For see, my books display themselves;
You 'll find some old acquaintance, known

Long since on college shelves.

This open window gives to view
The bell-tower of my village church,
Peering above that ancient yew,

Which guards its cross-crowned porch.

Full to the south, the hallowed field
Opens its bosom, while behind,
A knot of elms, with leafy shield,

Repels the northern wind.

There weekly am I circled round,
By an attentive multitude,
To whom, I trust that I am found

A minister of good.

The cots pour out their various groups ;
Grandsire and dame on staff's support,
And strong-limbed youth, infants, and troops,

But half-restrained from sport.

The old men stand erect, and look
Intent upon the preacher's face,
Loving to hear explained that book,

Which speaks of faith and grace;

While the young crowd that fill the aisle,
Their prayers put up, their praises paid,
Decorous sit, but wish the while

The final blessing said.

I know their every joy and woe,
How they are swayed by hope and fear;
Summoned or not, ’t is mine to go,

The death-bed's gloom to cheer.

Their children's guardian I; a train
On me await, their minds to store
With love to God, and love to man,

And other gospel lore.

Merely to fix the marriage-ties,
Is but prerogative of station;
I joy to think they highly prize,

My private approbation.

The doubtful swain oft comes to me,
With all his hopes and fears at strife,
His theme—not maiden's cruelty,

But of his means of life.

Trust me, this pastoral employ,
Though it hath toilsome, painful hours,
Oft harvests crops of richest joy,

And gathers wreaths of flowers.

-But hark! a voice that shouts amain, “ Father!" with childhood's eagerness ; My boy (a three years' imp) bursts in

To claim the accustomed kiss!

This done—his courage soon is laid —
He turns — the stranger is descried-
It drives him into ambuscade,

His father's leg beside.

“ Come forth, shy child !” – He'll not forsake My coat-flap's deep intrenching screen, Yet peeping thence, one dimpled cheek

And one bright eye are seen.

Not far behind, the mother speeds
In quest of this her truant boy;
Her husband seen,- how quick succeeds

The blush-rose hue of joy!

"Mary, you will, I know, rejoice,
My old, my long-tried friend to see;"
She welcomes him with hand and voice,

In matron modesty.

« PředchozíPokračovat »