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I heard the distant waters dash
I saw the current whirl and flash-
And richly by the blue lake’s silver beach
The woods were bending with a silent reach.
Then o'er the vale with gentle swell
The musick of the village-bell
Came sweetly to the echo-giving hills,
And the wild horn, whose voice the woodland fills,
Was ringing to the merry shout
That faint and far the glen sent out, Where, answering to the sudden shot, thin smoke Through thick-leaved branches from the dingle broke.
If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows that thou wouldst forget-
If thou wouldst read a lesson that will keep
Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep,
Go to the woods and hills !-- no tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
THE PEBBLE AND THE ACORN.
“I am a Pebble ! and yield to none !"
Were the swelling words of a tiny stone,
“Nor time nor seasons can alter me;
I am abiding, while ages flee.
The pelting hail and the drizzling rain
Have tried to soften me, long, in vain;
And the tender dew has sought to melt,
Or touch my heart; but it was not felt.
There's none that can tell about my birth,
For I'm as old as the big, round earth.
The children of men arise, and pass
Out of the world, like the blades of grass;
And many a foot on me has trod,
That's gone from sight, and under the sod!
I am a Pebble! but who art thou,
Rattling along from the restless bough?”
The Acorn was shocked at this rude salute, And lay for a moment abashed and mute;
THE PEDBLE AND THE ACORN.
She never before had been so near
This gravelly ball, the mundane sphere;
And she felt for a time at a loss to know
How to answer a thing so coarse and low.
But to give reproof of a nobler sort
Than the angry look, or the keen retort,
At length she said, in a gentle tone :-
“Since it has happened that I am thrown
From the lighter element, where I grew,
Down to another, so hard and new,
And beside a personage so august,
Abased, I will cover my head with dust,
And quickly retire from the sight of one
Whom time, nor season, nor storm, nor sun,
Nor the gentle dew, nor the grinding heel,
Has ever subdued or made to feel !"
And soon, in the earth, she sunk away
From the comfortless spot where the Pebble lay.
But it was not long ere the soil was broke
By the peering head of an infant oak!
And, as it arose and its branches spread,
The Pebble looked up, and wondering said :-
“A modest Acorn! never to tell
What was enclosed in its simple shell;
That the pride of the forest was folded up
In the narrow space of its little cup!
And meekly to sink in the darksome earth,
Which proves that nothing could hide her worth!
And oh! how many will tread on me,
To come and admire the beautiful tree,
Whose head is towering toward the sky,
Above such a worthless thing as I!
Useless and vain, a cumberer here,
I have been idling from year to year.
But never, from this, shall a vaunting word
From the humbled Pebble again be heard,
Till something without me or within,
Shall show the purpose for which I've been!”
The Pebble its vow could not forget,
And it lies there wrapped in silence yet.
There is a sweetness in woman's decay,
When the light of beauty is fading away,
When the bright enchantment of youth is gone,
And the tint that glowed, and the eye that shone,
And darted around its glance of power,
And the lip that vied with the sweetest flower,
That ever in Pæstum's garden blew,
Or ever was steeped in fragrant dew,
When all that was bright and fair, has fled,
But the loveliness lingering round the dead.
0! there is a sweetness in beauty's close,
Like the perfume scenting the withered rose ;
For a nameless charm around her plays,
And her eyes are kindled with hallowed rays,
And a veil of spotless purity
Has mantled her cheek with its heavenly dye,
Like a cloud whereon the queen of night
Has poured her softest tint of light;