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A FOREST HYMN

61

And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe
Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth
From Thine own bosom, and shall have no end.

15

There have been holy men who hid themselves Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived The generation born with them, nor seemed Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks Around them; and there have been holy men Who deemed it were not well to pass life thus. 10 But let me often to these solitudes Retire, and in Thy presence reassure My feeble virtue. Here its enemies, The passions, at Thy plainer footsteps shrink And tremble and are still. O God! when Thou Dost scare the world with tempests, set on fire The heavens with falling thunderbolts, or fill, With all the waters of the firmament, The swift dark whirlwind that uproots the woods And drowns the villages; when, at Thy call, Uprises the great deep and throws himself Upon the continent, and overwhelms Its cities - who forgets not, at the sight Of these tremendous tokens of Thy power, His pride, and lays his strifes and follies by ?

25 Oh, from these sterner aspects of Thy face Spare me and mine, nor let us need the wrath

20

Of the mad unchained elements to teach
Who rules them. Be it ours to meditate,
In these calm shades, Thy milder majesty,
And to the beautiful order of Thy works
5 Learn to conform the order of our lives.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

AMERICA, 1803-1882

Duty

So nigh is grandeur to our dust,

So near is God to man;
When Duty whispers low, “Thou must,”

The youth replies, “I can.”

Concord Hymn

10

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world.

15

The foe long since in silence slept;

Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept

Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

EACH AND ALL

63

On this green bank, by this soft stream,

We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,

When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare

To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare

The shaft we raise to them and thee.

5

Each and All

10

15

Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown
Of thee from the hill-top looking down;
The heifer that lows in the upland farm,
Far-heard, lows not thine ear to charm;
The sexton, tolling his bell at noon,
Deems not that great Napoleon
Stops his horse, and lists with delight,
Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height;
Now knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbor's creed has lent.
All are needed by each one, -
Nothing is fair or good alone.
I thought the sparrow's note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home, in his nest, at even.

20

He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear, — they sang to my eye.

The delicate shells lay on the shore;
5 The bubbles of the latest wave
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave,
And the bellowing of the savage sea
Greeted their safe escape to me.

I wiped away the weeds and foam ---
10 I fetched my sea-born treasures home;

But the poor, unsightly, noisome things
Had left their beauty on the shore
With the sun and the sand and the wild uproar.

The lover watched his graceful maid, 15 As 'mid the virgin train she strayed,

Nor knew her beauty's best attire
Was woven still by the snow-white choir.
At last she came to his hermitage,

Like the bird from the woodlands to the cage; 20 The gay enchantment was undone

A gentle wife, but fairy none.

Then I said, "I covet truth;
Beauty is unripe childhood's cheat;

I leave it behind with the games of youth." 25 As I spoke, beneath my feet

THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD

65

The ground-pine curled its pretty wreath,
Running over the club-moss burrs;
I inhaled the violet's breath;
Around me stood the oaks and firs;
Pine cones and acorns lay on the ground;
Over me soared the eternal sky,
Full of light and of deity;
Again I saw, again I heard,
The rolling river, the morning bird;
Beauty through my senses stole;
I yielded myself to the perfect whole.

10

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

AMERICA, 1807-1882

The Arsenal at Springfield

This is the arsenal. From floor to ceiling,

Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms; But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing

Startles the villages with strange alarms.

15

Ah! what a sound will rise - how wild and dreary

When the death-angel touches those swift keys ! What loud lament and dismal miserere

Will mingle with their awful symphonies !

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