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GEMS FOR THE FIRESIDE.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
JHE groves were God's first temples,
ere he framed The lofty vault, to gather and roll back The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood, Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down, And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks And supplication. For his simple heart Might not resist the sacred influences Which, from the stilly twilight of the place, And from the gray old trunks that high in
heaven Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the
sound Of the invisible breath that swayed at once All their green tope, stole over him, and
bowed His spirit with the thought of boundless
power And inaccessible majesty. Ah, why Should we, in the world's riper years, neglect God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore Only among the crowd, and under roofs That our frail hands have raised? Let me, at least,
Here, in the shadow of this aged wood,
Father, Thy hand
look down Upon the naked earth, and forthwith rose All these fair ranks of trees. They in Thy
sun Budded, and shook their green leaves in Thy
breeze, And shot towards heaven. The centuryliving crow, Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and
died Among their branches, till at last they stood. As now they stand, massy and tall and dark, Fit shrine for humble worshipper to hold Communion with his Maker. These dim
vaults, These winding aisles, of human pomp or
That run along tho summit of these trees
ground, The fresh, moist ground, are all instinct with
Thee: Here is continual worship ;—nature, here, In the tranquility that Thou dost love. Enjoys Thy presence. Noiselessly around, From perch to perch, the solitary bird Passes; and yon clear spring that, midst its
herbs, Wells softly forth, and, wandering, steeps the
roots Of half the mighty forest, tells no tale Of all the good it does. Thou hast not left Thyself without a witness, in these shades, Of Thy perfection. Grandeur, strength, and
grace Are here to speak of Thee. This mighty
oak,— By whose immovable stem I stand and seem Almost annihilated,—not a prince, In all that proud old world beyond the deep, E'er wore his crown as loftily as he Wears the green coronal of leaves with
which Thy hand hath graced him. Nestled at his
root Is beauty, such as blooms not in the glare Of the broad sun. That delicate forest
flower, With scented breath, and look so like a
smile, Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mould, An emanation of the indwelling life, A visible token of the upholding Love, That are the soul of this wide universe
My heart is awed within me when I think Of the great miracle that still goes on. In silence, round me,—the perpetual work Oi Thy creation, finished, yet renewed Forever. Written on Thy works, I read The lesson of Thy own eternity. Lo! all grow old and die; but see again, How on the faltering footsteps of decay Youth press.s,—ever gay and beautiful youth.
In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees Wave not less proudly that their ancestors Moulder beneath them. 0, there is not
lost One of Earth's charms! Upon her bosom
yet, After the flight of untold centuries, The freshness of her far beginning lies, And yel shall lie. Life mocks the idle
hate Of his arch-enemy,—Death,—yea, seats him
Belf Upon the tyrant's throne, the sepulchre, And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe Makes his own nourishment. For he came
forth From Thine own bosom, and shall have no
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. 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, oi
fill. With all the waters of tho 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 prides, and lay his strifes and follies
WILLIAM C. PEIME.
TMUT how about killing fish for sport? In the name of sense, man, if i^S God made fish to be eaten, what difference does it make if I enjoy
r* the killing of them before I eat them? You would have none but a fisherman by trade do it, and then you would have him utter a i sigh, a prayer, and a pious ejaculation at each cod or haddock that • he killed; and if by chance the old fellow, sitting in the boat at
work, should for a moment think there was, after all, a little fun and a little pleasure in his business, you would have him take a round turn with his line, and drop on his knees to ask forgiveness for the sin of thinking there was sport in fishing.
I can imagine the sadfaced melancholy-eyed man, who makes it his business to supply game for the market as you would have him, sober as the sexton in Hamlet, and forever moralizing over the gloomy necessity that has doomed him to a life of murder? Why, good sir, he would frighten respectable fish, and the market would soon be destitute.
The keenest day's sport in my journal of a great many years of sport was when, in company with some other gentlemen, I took three hundred blue-fish in three hours' fishing off Block Island, and those fish were eaten