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How still the morning of the hallow'd day!
Mute is the voice of rural labour, hush'd
The ploughboy's whistle, and the milkmaid's song.
The scythe lies glitt'ring in the dewy wreath
Of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers,
That yester-morn bloom'd waving in the breeze:
Sounds the most faint attract the ear,-the hum
Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,
The distant bleating, midway up the hill.
Calmness seems thron'd on yon unmoving cloud.
To him who wanders o'er the upland leas,
The blackbird's note comes mellower from the
And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark
Warbles his heav'n-tun'd song; the lulling brook
Murmurs more gently down the deep-sunk glen;
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke
O'ermounts the mist, is heard, at intervals,
The voice of psalms, the simple song of praise.
WITH dove-like wings Peace o'er yon village
The dizzying mill-wheel rests; the anvil's din
Hath ceas'd; all, all around is quietness.
Less fearful on this day, the limping hare
Stops, and looks back, and stops, and looks on man,
Her deadliest foe. The toil-worn horse, set free, (2)
Unheedful of the pasture, roams at large;
And, as his stiff unwieldy bulk he rolls,
His iron-arm'd hoofs gleam in the morning-ray.
BUT chiefly Man the day of rest enjoys. Hail, SABBATH! thee I hail, the poor man's day. On other days, the man of toil is doom'd To eat his joyless bread, lonely, the ground Both seat and board, screen'd from the winter's cold,
And summer's heat, by neighbouring hedge or
But on this day, embosom'd in his home,
He shares the frugal meal with those he loves;
With those he loves he shares the heart-felt joy
Of giving thanks to God, (3)—not thanks of form,
A word and a grimace, but rev'rently,
With cover'd face and upward earnest eye.
HAIL, SABBATH! thee I hail, the poor man's day:
The pale mechanic now has leave to breathe (4)
The morning-air pure from the city's smoke,
While wand'ring slowly up the river-side,
He meditates on Him whose power he marks
In each green tree that proudly spreads the bough,
As in the tiny dew-bent flowers that bloom
Around the roots; and while he thus surveys
With elevated joy each rural charm,
He hopes, (yet fears presumption in the hope,)
To reach those realms where SABBATH never ends.
BUT now his steps a welcome sound recals : Solemn the knell, from yonder ancient pile, Fills all the air, inspiring joyful awe:
Slowly the throng moves o'er the tomb-pav'd
The aged man, the bowed down, the blind
Led by the thoughtless boy, and he who breathes With pain, and eyes the new-made grave, wellpleas'd;
These, mingled with the young, the gay, approach
The house of God: these, spite of all their ills,
A glow of gladness feel; with silent praise
They enter in; a placid stillness reigns,
Until the man of God, worthy the name,
Opens the book, and reverentially
The stated portion reads. A pause ensues.
The organ breathes its distant thunder-notes,
Then swells into a diapason full:
The people rising, sing, "With harp, with harp,
And voice of psalms ;” harmoniously attun'd
The various voices blend; the long-drawn aisles,
At every close, the ling'ring strain prolong.
And now the tubes a soften'd stop controuls,