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accompany him to the temporary studio of Mr. Swayne, the sculptor, who was making a bust of him at the Treasury Department. While he was sitting for the bust I was suddenly reminded of the poem, and said to him that THEN would be a good time to dictate it to me. He complied, and sitting upon some books at his feet, as nearly as I can remember, I wrote the lines down, one by one, as they fell from his lips. With great regard, very truly yours,
F. B. CARPENTER.
O why should the Spirit of Mortal be
O why should the spirit of mortal be proud ? -
Like a fast-fitting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passes from life to his rest in the grave.
The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
Be scattered around and together be laid;
And the young and the old, and the low and the high,
Shall moulder to dust, and together shall lie.
The child, that a mother attended and loved;
The mother, that infants affection that proved;
The husband, that mother and infant that blest,-
Each, all, are away to their dwelling of rest.
The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, on whose eye,
Shone beauty and pleasure—her triumphs are by;
And the memory of those that loved her and praised,
Are alike from the minds of the living erased.
The hand of the king, that the sceptre hath borne,
The brow of the priest, that the mitre hath worn,
The eye of the sage and the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave.
The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap,
The herdsman, who climbed with the goats to the steep,
The beggar, that wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass that we tread.
The saint, that enjoyed the communion of heaven,
The sinner, that dared to remain unforgiven,
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just,
Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust.
So the multitude goes—like the flowers and the weed,
That wither away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes—even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that hath often been told:
For we are the same things our fathers have been;
We see the same sights that our fathers have seen;
We drink the same stream, and we feel the same sun,
And we run the same course that our fathers have run.
The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers would think; From the death we are shrinking from, they too would
shrink; To the life we are clinging to, they too would clingBut it speeds from the earth, like a bird on the wing.
They loved—but their story we cannot unfold;
They scorned—but the heart of the haughty is cold;
They grieved—but no wail from their slumber may come;
They joyed—but the voice of their gladness is dumb.
They died—ay, they died—and we, things that are now,
Who walk on the turf that lies over their brow,
Who make in their dwellings a transient abode,
Meet the changes they met on their pilgrimage road.
Yea, hope and despondence, and pleasure and pain,
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain;
And the smile and the tear, and the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.
'Tis the twink of the eye,—'tis the draught of a breath,
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death;
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud ;-
O why should the spirit of mortal be proud!
[The author of the above poem was William Knox, a young Scottish poet, who died in 1825.]