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I THIRST for thirstiness; I weep for tears;
Well pleased I am to be displeased thus ;
The only thing I fear is want of fears;
Suspecting I am not suspicious.
I cannot choose but live, because I die;
And, when I am not dead, how glad am I?
Yet, when I am thus glad for sense of pain,
And careful am, lest I should careless be,
Then do I grieve for being glad again,
And fear lest carelessness take care from me.
Amidst these restless thoughts this rest I find,
For those that rest not here, there's rest behind.
FROM H. KIRKE WHITE'S POEM ON TIME.
Who needs a teacher to admonish him
That flesh is grass, that earthly things are mist?
What are our joys but dreams ? and what our hopes
But goodly shadows in the summer cloud ?
There's not a wind that blows but bears with it
Some fleeting promise:- Not a moment flies
But puts its sickle in the fields of life,
And mows its thousands, with their joys and cares.
'Tis but as yesterday since on yon stars,
Which now I view, the Chaldee shepherd gazed
In his mid-watch observant, and disposed
The twinkling hosts as fancy gave them shape.
Yet in the interim what mighty shocks
Have buffeted mankind - whole nations razed
Cities made desolate,--the polished sunk
To barbarism, and once barbaric states
Swaying the wand of science and of arts;
Illustrious deeds and memorable names
Blotted from record, and upon the tongue
Of gray Tradition, voluble no more.
Where are the heroes of the ages past?
Where the brave chieftains, where the mighty ones
Who flourished in the infancy of days?
All to the grave gone down. On their fallen fame
Exultant, mocking at the pride of man,
Sits grim Forgetfulness.— The warrior's arm
Lies nerveless on the pillow of its shame;
Hushed is his stormy voice, and quenched the blaze
Of his red eye-ball. -- Yesterday his name
Was mighty on the earth.— To-day—'tis what?
The meteor of the night of distant years,
That flashed unnoticed.
Oh, how weak
Is mortal man! how trifling -- how confined
His scope of vision! Puffed with confidence,
His phrase grows big with immortality,
And he, poor insect of a summer's day!
Dreams of eternal honours to his name;
Of endless glory and perennial bays,
He idly reasons of eternity,
As of the train of ages,—when, alas!
Ten thousand thousand of his centuries
Are, in comparison, a little point
Too trivial for account. Oh, it is strange,
'Tis passing strange, to mark his fallacies;
Behold him proudly view some pompous pile,
Whose high dome swells to emulate the skies,
And smile, and say, My name shall live with this
Till Time shall be no more; while at his feet,
Yea, at his very feet, the crumbling dust
Of the fallen fabric of the other day
Preaches the solemn lesson. He should know
That Time must conquer; that the loudest blast
That ever filled Renown's obstreperous trump
Fades in the lapse of ages, and expires.
Who lies inhumed in the terrific gloom
Of the gigantic pyramid ? or who
Reared its huge walls? Oblivion laughs, and says,
The prey is mine. — They sleep, and never more
Their names shall strike
the ear of man, Their memory bursts its fetters.
Where is Rome? She lives but in the tale of other times; Her proud pavilions are the hermit's home, And her long colonnades, her public walks, Now faintly echo to the pilgrim's feet, Who comes to muse in solitude, and trace, Through the rank moss revealed, her honoured dust. But not to Rome alone has Time confined The doom of ruin; cities numberless, Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Babylon, and Troy, And rich Phenicia—they are blotted out, Half-razed from memory, and their very name And being in dispute.—Has Athens fallen ?
Is polished Greece become the savage seat
Of ignorance and sloth ?
Still on its march, unnoticed and unfelt,
Moves on our being. We do live and breathe,
And we are gone. The spoiler heeds us not.
We have our spring-time and our rottenness;
And as we fall, another race succeeds,
To wither likewise. Meanwhile Nature smiles- -
The seasons run their round. The sun fulfils
His annual course and heaven and earth remain
Still changing, yet unchanged — still marked to feel
Endless mutation in perpetual rest.
Where are concealed the days which have elapsed ?
Hid in the mighty cavern of the past,
They rise upon us only to astound,
By indistinct and half-glimpsed images,
Misty, gigantic, huge, obscure, remote.
The life of man
Is summed in birthdays and in sepulchres :
But the Eternal God had no beginning;
He hath no end.-- Earthly things
Are but the transient pageants of an hour;
And earthly pride is like the passing flower,
That springs to fall, and blossoms but to die.
'Tis as the tower erected on a cloud,
Baseless and silly as the schoolboy's dreain.
Ages and epochs, that destroy our pride,
And then record its downfall, what are they
But the poor creatures of man's teeming brain?
Hath heaven its ages? or doth heaven preserve
Its stated eras ? Doth the Omnipotent
Hear of to-morrows or of yesterdays?
There is to God nor future nor a past;
Throned in His might, all times to Him are present;
He hath no lapse, no past, no time to come;
He sees before Him one eternal now.
Time moveth not !--- our being 'tis that moves,
And we, swift gliding down life's rapid stream,
Dream of swift ages and revolving years,
Ordained to chronicle our passing days:
So the young sailor in the gallant bark,
Scudding before the wind, beholds the coast
Receding from his eyes, and thinks the while,
Struck with amaze, that he is motionless,
And that the land is sailing.-On earth
There is nor certainty nor stable hope.
As well the weary mariner, whose bark
Is tossed beyond Cimmerian Bosphorus,
Where storm and darkness hold their drear domain,
And sunbeams never penetrate, might trust
To expectation of serener skies,
And linger in the very jaws of death,
Because some threatening cloud were opening,
Or the loud storm had bated in its
As we look forward in this vale of tears
To permanent delight from some slight glimpse
Of shadowy unsubstantial happiness.
The Christian's hope is laid far, far beyond
The sway of tempests, or the furious sweep
Of mortal desolation. He beholds,
Unapprehensive, the gigantic stride
Of rampant Ruin, or the unstable waves
Of dark Vicissitude. Even in death,
In that dread hour, when with a giant pang,