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THE sun was set, and that dim twilight hour,
In her own ruins; every mark was gone,
Amid a sandy waste it reared its head,
All scathed and blackened by the lightning shock,
That many a scar and many a seam had made,
E'en to its base; and there with thundering stroke, Erie's wild waves in ceaseless clamor broke.
And on its rifted top the wanderer stood, (ƒ)
And wistfully he gazed upon the flood:
It were a boon to him, (so thought he there,) Beneath that tide to rest from every care.
And might it be, and not his own rash hand
Have done the deed, (for yet he dared not brave,
All reckless as he was, the high command,
Do thyself no harm,) adown the wave
And in the tall lake-grass that night had been his grave.
Oh! you may tell of that philosophy,
Which steels the heart 'gainst every bitter wo: 'Tis not in nature, and it cannot be ;
You cannot rend young hearts, and not a throe Of agony tell how they feel the blow.
He was a lone and solitary one,
With none to love, and pity he disdained: His hopes were wrecked, and all his joys were gone; But his dark eye blanched not; his pride remained: And if he deeply felt, to none had he complained.
Of all that knew him few but judged him wrong:
Unloving and unloved he passed along :
His chosen path with steadfast aim he trod,
Nor asked nor wished applause, save only of his God.
Oh! how preposterous 'tis for man to claim
In his own strength to chain the human soul!
Go, first, and learn the elements to tame,
Ere you would exercise your vain control
O'er that which pants and strive for an immortal goal.
Yet oft a young and generous heart has been
By cruel keepers trampled on and torn;
And all the worst and wildest passions in
The human breast have roused themselves in scorn, That else had dormant slept, or never had been born.
Take heed ye guardians of the youthful mind, That facile grows beneath your kindly care: 'Tis of elastic mould, and, if confined
With too much stress 'shoots madly from its sphere,' Unswayed by love, and unrestrained by fear,
Oh! tis a fearful blasting sight to see
The soul in ruins, withered, rived, and wrung, And doomed to spend its immortality
Darkling and hopeless, where despair has flung Her curtains o'er the loves to which it fondly clung.
So thought the wanderer: so, perhaps, he felt:
On the sharp flint-stone in the rayless gloom,
Weep not for him: he asks no sympathy
By all his kind forgotten and unknown,
And in the desert let him lie and sleep,
In that sweet rest exhausted nature gave:
Thou art not of earth, thou beautiful thing,
A drop of that living dew
That nourished thee, when earth was young, And the music of Eden around thee rung.
Thou art not of earth: no change is thine-
And they whisper still of fadeless bowers,
Thou art not of earth: thou changest not
For even then, in that hour of dread,
Not a hue of beauty hath left the dead.
I deem that Eve, when in terror forced
From her Eden home to part,
Must have sadly look'd on those fadeless bowers, And clasped thee to her heart
And thou in thy exile still dost tell
Of a changeless home where the good shall dwell.