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When chill November's surly blast
Made fields and forests bare,
One evening as I wandered forth
Along the banks of Ayr,
I spied a man, whose aged step-
Seemed weary, worn with care ;
His face was furrowed o'er with years,
And hoary was his hair.
Young stranger, whither wanderest thou?
Began the reverend sage;
Does thirst of wealth thy step constrain,
Or youthful pleasure's rage ?
Or haply, prest with cares and woes,
Too soon thou hast began
To wander forth, with me, to mourn
The miseries of man !
The sun that overhangs yon moors,
Out-spreading far and wide, Where hundreds labour to support
A haughty lordling's pride;
I've seen yon weary winter-sun
Twice forty times return;
And every time has added proofs,
That man was made to mourn.
O man! while in thy early years,
How prodigal of time! Misspending all thy precious hours,
Thy glorious youthful prime!
Alternate follies take the sway;
Licentious passions burn;
Which tenfold force give nature's law,
That man was made to mourn.
Look not alone on youthful prime,
Or manhood's active might;
Man then is useful to his kind,
Supported is his right :
But see him on the edge of life,
With cares and sorrows worn,
Then age and want, Oh! ill-matched pair!
Show man was made to mourn.
A few seem favourites of fate,
In pleasure's lap carest;
Yet, think not all the rich and great
Are likewise truly blest.
But, Oh! what crowds in every land
Are wretched and forlorn ;
Through weary life this lesson learn,
That man was made to mourn.
Many and sharp the numerous ills
Inwoven with our frame !
More pointed still we make ourselves,
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heaven-erected face
The smiles of love adorn,
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn ! See yonder poor, o'erlaboured wight,
So abject, mean, and vile, Who begs a brother of the earth
To give him leave to toil; And see his lordly fellow-worm
The poor petition spurn,
Unmindful, though a weeping wife
And helpless offspring mourn.
If I'm designed yon lordling's slave-
By nature's law designed,
Why was an independent wish
E’er planted in my mind ?
If not, why am I subject to
His cruelty or scorn ?
Or why has man the will and power
To make his fellow mourn ?
Yet, let not this too much, my son,
Disturb thy youthful breast :
This partial view of human-kind
Is surely not the last !
The poor, oppressed, honest man
Had never, sure, been born,
Had there not been some recompense
To comfort those that mourn !
O death! the poor man's dearest friend,
The kindest and the best !
Welcome the hour my aged limbs
Are laid with thee at rest !
The great, the wealthy, fear thy blow,
From pomp and pleasure torn;
But, Oh! a blest relief to those
That weary-laden mourn !
CONFIDENCE IN GOD. How are thy servants blest, O Lord !
How sure is their defencé !
Eternal wisdom is their guide,
Their help Omnipotence.
In foreign realms, and lands remote,
Supported by thy care,
Through burning climes I passed unhurt,
And breathed in tainted air.
Thy mercy sweetened every soil,
Made every region please ;
The hoary Alpine hills it warmed,
And smoothed the Tyrrhene seas.
Think, O my soul, devoutly think,
How with affrighted eyes
Thou sawest the wide-extended deep
In all its horrors rise !
Confusion dwelt in every face,
And fear in every heart,
When waves on waves, and gulfs in gulfs,
O’ercame the pilot's art.
Yet then from all my griefs, O Lord,
Thy mercy set me free;
While in the confidence of prayer
My soul took hold on thee.
For though in dreadful whirls we hung
High on the broken wave,
I knew thou wert not slow to hear,
Nor impotent to save.
The storm was laid, the winds retired,
Obedient to thy will ;
The sea, that roared at thy command,
At thy command was still.
In midst of dangers, fears, and deaths,
Thy goodness I'll adore ;
And praise thee for thy mercies past,
And humbly hope for more.
My life, if thou preservest my life,
Thy sacrifice shall be ;
And death, if death must be my doom,
Shall join my soul to thee.
EARLY IMPRESSIONS. CuiLDHOOD's loved group revisits every scene; The tangled wood-walk, and the tufted green! Indulgent MEMORY wakes, and lo, they live! Clothed with far softer hues than Light can give.
The School's lone porch, with reverend mosses gray,
Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay.
Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn,
Quickening my truant-feet across the lawn :
Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air,
When the slow dial gave a pause to care.
Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear,
Some little friendship formed and cherished here;
And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems
With golden visions, and romantic dreams!
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blazed
The gipsy's fagot--there we stood and gazed;
Gazed on her sun-burnt face with silent awe,
Her tattered mantle, and her hood of straw;
Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er ;
The drowsy brood that on her back she bore,
Imps, in the barn with mousing owlet bred,
From rifled roost at nightly revel fed ;
Whose dark eyes flashed through locks of blackest shade,
When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bayed :-
And heroes fled the Sibyl's muttered call,
Whose elfin prowess scaled the orchard-wall.
As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew,
And traced the line of life with searching view,
How throbbed my fluttering pulse with hopes and fears,
To learn the colour of my future years !
Ah, then, what honest triumph flushed my breast;
This truth once known—To bless is to be blest!
We led the bending beggar on his way,
(Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-gray,)
Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt,
And on his tale with mute attention dwelt.
As in his scrip we dropt our little store,
And sighed to think that little was no more,
He breathed his prayer, “Long may such goodness live!"
'Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give.
But hark! through those old firs, with sullen swell, The church-clock strikes ! ye tender scenes, farewell ! It calls me hence, beneath their shade, to trace The few fond lines that Time may soon efface.