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Hush, wild surmise!-'tis vain -'tis vain!
The summer flowers in beauty blow,
And sighs the wind, and floods the rain,
O'er some old bones that rot below:
No other record can we trace
Of fame or fortune, rank or race.
Then what is life, when thus we see
No trace remains of life's career?
Mortal! whoe'er thou art, for thee
A moral lesson gloweth here;
Putt'st thou in aught of earth thy trust?
'Tis doomed that dust shall mix with dust.
What doth it matter, then, if thus,
Without a stone, without a name, To impotently herald us,
We float not on the breath of fame, But, like the dewdrop from the flower, Pass, after glittering for an hour,
Since soul decays not? Freed from earth, And earthly coils, it bursts away: Receiving a celestial birth,
And spurning off its bonds of clay, It soars, and seeks another sphere, And blooms through Heaven's eternal year.
Do good; shun evil; live not thou
As if at death thy being died;
Nor Error's siren voice allow
To draw thy steps from truth aside; Look to thy journey's end-the grave! And trust in Him whose arm can save.
EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION.
move, prove, do, who, two, ooze, lose, brute, fruit; — loser, mover, proving, moving; - improve, behove, canoe, imbrue.
Thanatopsis.* W. C. BRYANT.
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.
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 under 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,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again;
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix forever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock,
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
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,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings
Of morning, and the Barcan desert pierce;
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save his own dashings—yet - the dead are there;
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep - the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest; and what if thou shalt fall
Unnoticed by the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one, as before, will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come,
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men
The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The bowed with age, the infant in the smiles
And beauty of its innocent age cut off,
Shall, one by one, be gathered to thy side,
By those who in their turn shall follow them.
So live, that, when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves
To the pale realms of shade, 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.
EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION.
oi-oil, boil, soil, broil, choice, voice, noise, boy, joy, toy, alloy, employ, embroil, appoint.
UPON a leaf-strewn walk,
I wander on amid the sparkling dews;
Where Autumn hangs, upon each frost-gemmed stalk,
Her gold and purple hues;
Where the tall fox-gloves shake
Their loose bells to the wind, and each sweet flower Bows down its perfumed blossoms, to partake
The influence of the hour;
Where the cloud shadows pass
With noiseless speed by lonely lake and rill,
Chasing each other o'er the low crisped grass
And up the distant hill;·
Where the clear stream steals on
Upon its silent path, as it were sad
To find each downward-gazing flower has gone,
That made it once so glad.
I number it in, days,
Since last I roamed through this secluded dell,-
Seeking a shelter from the summer rays,
Where flowers and wild-birds dwell.
While, gemmed with pearl-drops bright,
Green leaves and silken buds were dancing there,
I moved my lips in murmurs of delight,
"And blessed them, unaware."
How changed each sylvan scene!
Where is the warbling bird? the sun's clear ray?
The waving brier-rose? and foliage green,
That canopied my way?
Where is the balmy breeze
That fanned so late my brow? the sweet south-west,
That, whispering music to the listening trees,
My raptured spirit blessed?