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When it was discovered that Bryant was not its author, those journals which had been most bountiful in their encomiums upon its merit, felt much chagrined, while others laughed at the joke. In justice to the innocent author, whom many have censured for this deception, unmeaningly committed, we will explain its publication. It was originally a part of a poem delivered some years ago by Mr. Weston before the Phi Beta Kappa of Bowdoin College, and which consisted entirely of imitations of the most distinguished American poets. lIow well he succeeded in his imitations, A Vision of Immortality,' will show to the reader. A better imitation of Bryant could not, we venture to say, be made. The poem was published as a 'Sequel to Thanatopsis,' with the consent of the poet Bryant, by Mr. Weston personally obtained. It matters not, as far as its literary merit is concerned, whether it was written by the one or the other, and those editors who so foolishly revoked their flattering notices when a more humble name claimed its authorship, done themselves but little credit. As the production of Mr. Weston, it is a perfect imitation, while as that of Mr. Bryant, it would be nothing more than his old familiar style of writing.
Mr. Weston is now, and has been for some time past, an assistant editor of the • Eclectic,'a popular literary weekly journal, published at Portland. IIe is a man of fine talents, a superior teacher, and a gentlemen of high standing in private life. lle is married, and resides in the town of Gorham, where his flourishing school is situated. Although a man of abundant talent, he has written nothing of any great length by which to acquire a reputation outside of our own State, except • A Vision of Immortality,' which, with • Lines written at the Falls of the Passaic, and the Two Hands,' we consider the finest specimens of his poetic talent that we have seen.
A SEQUEL TO THANATOPSIS' AND "THE HYMN TO DEATH.'
I, who essayed to sing in earlier days
The Thanatopsis and The Hymn to Death,
Wake now the Hymn to Immortality.
Yet once again, () man, come forth and view
The haunts of Nature, - walk the waving fields,
Enter the silent groves, or pierce again
The depths of the untrodden wilderness,
And she shall teach thee.
Thou hast learned before
One lesson; and her Hymn of Death has fallen
With melancholy sweetness on thine ear;
Yet she shall tell thee with a myriad tongue
That life is there — life in uncounted forms —
Stealing in silence through the hidden roots ;
In every branch that swings; in the green leaves
And waving grain, and the gay summer flowers
That gladden the beholder. Listen now,
And she shall teach thee that the dead have slept
But to wake in more glorious forms,
And the mystery of the seed's decay
Is but the promise of the coming life.
Each towering oak that lifts its living head
To the broad sunlight in eternal strength,
Glories to tell thee that the acorn died.
The flowers that spring above their last year's grave
Are eloquent with the voice of life and hope
And the green trees clap their rejoicing hands,
Waving in triumph over the carth's decay !
Yet not alone shall flower and forest raise
The voice of triumph and the hymn of life.
The insect brood are there! — each painted wing
That flutters in the sunshine, broke but now
From the close cerements of a worm's own shroud,
Is telling, as it flies, how life may spring
In its glad beauty from the gloom of death.
Where the crushed mould beneath the sunken foot
Seems but the sepulchre of old decay,
Turn thou a keener glance, and thou shalt find
The gathered myriads of a mimic world.
The breath of evening and the sultry morn
Bears on its wing a cloud of witnesses,
That earth from her unnumbered caves of death
Sends forth a mightier tide of teeming life.
Raise then the Hymn to Immortality!
The broad green prairies and the wilderness,
And the old cities where the dead have slept
Age upon age, a thousand
one, Shall yet be crowded with the living forms Of myriads, waking from the silent dust.
Kings that lay down in state, and earth's poor slaves,
Resting together in one fond embrace,
The white-haired patriarch and the tender babe,
Grown old together in the flight of years,
. They of immortal fame and they whose praise
Was never sounded in the ears of men,
Archon and priest, and the poor common crowd,-
All the vast concourse in the halls of death!
Shall waken from the dreams of silent years
To hail the dawn of immortal day.
Aye, learn the lesson. Though the worm shall be
Thy brother in the mystery of death!
And all shall pass, humble and proud and gay
Together, to earth's mighty charnel-house,
Yet the Immortal is thy heritage !
The grave shall gather thee ! - Yet thou shalt come,
Beggar or prince, not as thou wentest forth
In rags or purple, but arrayed as those
Whose mortal puts on immortality!
Then mourn not when thou markest the decay
Of Nature, and her solemn hymn of death
Steals with a note of sadness to thy heart.
That other voice, with its rejoicing tones,
Breaks from the mould with every bursting flower.
O grave! thy victory!' And thou, O man,
Burdened with sorrow at the woes that crowd
Thy narrow heritage, lift up thy head
In the strong hope of the undying life,
And shout the Hymn of Immortality.
The dear departed that have passed away
To the still house of death, leaving thine own,
The gray-haired sire that died in blessing thee,
Mother or sweet-lipped babe, or she who gave
Thy home the light and bloom of Paradise, -
They shall be thine again, when thou shalt pass
At God's appointment, through the shadowy vale,
To reach the sunlight of the IMMORTAL HILLS.
And thou that gloriest to lie down with kings,
Thine uncrowned head now lowlier than theirs,
Seek thou the loftier glory to be known,
A king and priest to God, — when thou shalt pass
Forth from the silent halls to take thy place
With patriarchs and prophets, and the blest
from every land to people heaven.
So live, that when the mighty caravan,
Which halts one night-time in the vale of Death,
Shall strike its white tents for the morning march,
Thou shalt mount onward to the Eternal Hills
Thy foot unwearied, and thy strengh renewed
Like the strong eagle's for the upward flight!