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GEMS FOR THE FIRESIDE.

FOREST HYMN.

YooHE groves were God's first temples, o og ere man learned To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave, And spread the roof above them,ere he framed The lofty vault, to gather and roll back The sound of anthems; in the darklingwood, 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 tops, 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,

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.

Here, in the shadow of this aged wood, Offer one hymn, thrice happy if it find Acceptance in His ear.

Father, Thy hand Hath reared these venerable columns. Thou Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst 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. living 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 ... pride, Report not. No fantastic carvings show The boast of our vain race to change the form Of Thy fair works. But Thou art here— Thou fill'st The solitude. Thou art in the soft winds

The century

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That run along the summit of these trees
In music; Thou art in the cooler breath
That from the inmost darkness of the place
Comes, scarcely felt; the barky trunks, the
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.
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

This mighty

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
Of 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,

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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 inen 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. 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 prides, and lay his strifes and follies by?

O God! when

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