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To him who, in the love of Nature, holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language. For his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty; and she glides Into his darker musings with a mild And gentle sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;— Go forth unto the open sky, and list To Nature’s teachings, while from all around— Earth and her waters, and the depths of air— Comes a still voice:—Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course. Nor yet in the cold ground,
Yet not to thy eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone;—nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings, The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills, Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun; the vales, Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods; rivers that move In majesty; and the complaining brooks, That make the meadows green: and, poured round all, Old ocean's gray and melancholy waste— Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
The flight of years began, have laid them down
So shalt thou rest—and what if thou shalt fall
78 TH A NATO P S I S.
So live, that, when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, that moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.