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Summer MorningEdit

'T is beautiful, when first the dewy light
Breaks on the earth! while yet the scented air
Is breathing the cool freshness of the night,
And the bright clouds a tint of crimson wear,
Mix'd with their fleecy whiteness; when each fair
And delicate lined flower that lifts its head
Is bathed in dainty odours, and all rare
And beautiful things of nature are outspread,
With the rich flush of light that only morn can shed.

When every leafy chalice holds a draught
Of nightly dew, for the hot sun to drink,
When streams gush sportively, as though they laugh'd
For very joyousness, and seem to shrink,
In playful terror from the rocky brink
Of some slight precipice—then with quick leap,
Bound lightly o'er the barrier, and sink
In their own whirling eddy, and then sweep
With rippling music on, or in their channels sleep.

While lights and shades play on them, with each breath
That moves the calm still waters; when the fly
Skims o'er the surface, and all things beneath
Gleam brightly through the flood, and fish glance by
With a quick flash of beauty—when the sky
Wears a deep azure brightness—and the song
Of matin gladness lifts its voice on high,
And mingled harmony and perfume throng
On every whispering breeze that lightly floats along.—

'T is sweet to wander forth at such an hour,
And drink the spirit of its loveliness;
While on the brow no shadowing care-clouds lower,
And on strong wing the free thoughts upward press;—
Yet there are those whom nature cannot bless,
With all her varied beauty;—such as they,
Whose cup is drugg'd with pain and sore distress,
By their own brother's hand, and the quench'd ray
Of whose lost hopes spreads gloom across the brightest day.

Lo! where, like cattle driven by the lash,
Forth to their wearying task in groups they go;
The mother, lifting up her hand, to dash
The tear-drops from her cheek, that still will flow,
As on her ear her infant's wail comes low,
Yet painfully distinct; and she must leave,—
For the stern overseer wills it so—
Her tender little one unsoothed, to grieve,
Happy to clasp it safe when she returns at eve.

The feeble crone who on her knees hath borne
Her children's grandchildren, is toiling there;
Young forms, and weak old men, whose limbs are worn
Nigh to the grave—strong men, whose bow'd necks bear
Perchance the weight of heavy irons, that wear
Into their very souls;—small heed has he
Who tasks them, of their ills, and none will spare
From the rude scourge—nor old nor infancy—
Who have the allotted toil perform'd imperfectly.

Oh shame upon man's selfishness! that so
The love of gold should canker in his breast,
Transforming his affection's kindly glow
To bitterness, himself into a pest
Upon the earth, the scourge of the oppress'd,
And tyrant of the helpless.—Strange that they,
Who with man's high capacities are blest,
Should, for earth's valueless and tinsel clay,
Thus cast the priceless jewels of their souls away.