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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 132.djvu/72

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Let be the river! What does it avail
To struggle with the current's destined course?
The strongest effort does but faint and fail,
Skill yields, out-tired, to resistless force.
The highest rock is overleapt by spray,
The silent waters fret each bar away.

Vainly the bulwark fashioned deep and wide,
New bed contrived, new turn by cunning wrought;
Steady, resistless, onward flows the tide,
Each gathering wave with gathering purpose fraught,
Till, full and free, rejoicing in its strength,
It sweeps to ocean's mighty arms at length.

Let be the river! Let the loved alone
To meet the fate, and shape the circumstance.
We dream the future, fancying all our own,
What does but wait the call of time and chance;
Foredoomed, the path before the pilgrim lies,
The sunset lurking in the morning skies.

Let be the river! Hail its rippling smile,
Listen its song, and shiver to its sigh;
Let its chafed beauty weary hours beguile,
Watch how it darkens to the darkening sky;
We cannot cloud or brighten, speed or check,
Nor alter on its way the tiniest beck.

Let be the river then! Where lilies float,
And blue forget-me-nots beside it shimmer,
Take gladness in its suns' reflected mote,
And soothing from its moonlights' dreamy glimmer;
Happy if still your faltering footsteps tend
Beside its varying currents to the end!

All The Year Round.


A sun-clad slope of living green
Under a cloudless autumn sky —
Say, can it be that this sweet scene,
So bright, so sheltered, so serene,
Once echoed with a battle-cry?

Broad, golden fields of waving corn
Tremble before the wind's soft breath,
While through the air is gaily borne
The reaper's song at early morn —
And this was once a field of death!

No sculptured stone nor marble fair
Now marks the spot where warriors bled;
Only kind spring's returning care,
As though she knew who slumbers there,
Bids her first primrose raise its head.

What though this battle has no place
In Scotland's roll of victories won —
The noblest of her patriot race
Here met their foemen face to face,
And bravely was their duty done.

Stern fate is theirs who, conquering, die;
But his an anguish keener far
Who on the gory field must lie,
And hear the foe's exulting cry:
"Our arms have turned the tide of war!"

Then tenderly let Scotland weep
Over her unrequited brave,
And in her heart their memory keep,
All restfully the while they sleep
In nature's lone and peaceful grave.


The corn-land is lying in brief, deep rest,
While tempest is sullen, or sunshine blithe;
Sweet is the scent of the farrow refreshed
After the raid of the pitiless scythe.
Now recks it little — come shower or sun —
The harvest is carried, the work is done.

The jubilant summer has yielded its sway,
And August has lavished its gold on the year;
Magic of moonlight, dazzle of day,
One long laughter with never a tear!
Harvest of happiness, gathered and stored,
Winds cannot scatter the ample hoard.

Awe of the mountain, and calm of the lake,
Mirth of the valley, and sigh of the breeze;
Freedom of upland, and moorland, and brake,
Music of forests, of torrents, of seas:
Harvest of memories, golden and gay;
Fear not for dearth in the wintry day.

Smooth out the seaweed, and dream o'er its spells;
Tighten and tie up the salt-laden tresses;
Little ones, lay by the basket and shells,
Put on the shoes again, turn down the dresses.
Harvest of health, in its happiest guise,
Rosy-brown faces and laughter-lit eyes.

Ah! but the woods in their midsummer green!
Bright with the flow of the musical river:
Shading soft blushes with tenderest screen,
Touched with an echo of voices that quiver.
Harvest of love! Is it anything new?
Should Cupid not gather his harvest too?

All The Year Round.