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WERE I a trembling leaf
On yonder stately tree, After a season gay and brief,
Condemned to fade and fice;
I should be loth to fall
Beside the common way, Weltering in mire, and spurned by all,
Till trodden down to clay.
Nor would I choose to die
All on a bed of grass,
Where thousands of my kindred lie,
And idly rot in mass.
Nor would I like to spread
My thin and withered face
In hortus siccus, pale and dead,
A mummy of my race.
No,--on the wings of air
Might I be left to fly,
I know not and I heed not where,
A waif of earth and sky !
Or Aung upon the stream,
Curled like a fairy boat,
As through the changes of a dream,
To the world's end to float !
Who that hath ever been,
Could bear to be no more? Yet who would tread again the scene
He trod through life before?
On, with intense desire,
Man's spirit will move on; It seems to die, yet, li.e heaven's fire,
It is not quenched, but gone.
THE STRANGER AND HIS FRIEND.
“Ye have done it unto me.”—Matt. xxv. 40.
A POOR wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief,
That I could never answer
I had not power to ask his name,
Whither he went, or whence he came,
Yet was there something in his eye
That won my love, I knew not why.
Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered ;—not a word he spake ;-
Just perishing for want of bread:
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate,-but gave me part again ;
Mine was an angel's portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
That crust was manna to my taste.
I spied him, where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone;
The heedless water mocked his thirst,
He heard it, saw it hurrying on:
I ran to raise the sufferer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o'er ;
I drank, and never thirsted more.
'T was night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof;
I heard his voice abroad, and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof;
I warmed, I clothed, I cheered my guest,
Laid him on my own couch to rest ;
Then made the hearth my bed, and seemed
In Eden's garden while I dreamed.
Stript, wounded, beaten, nigh to death,
I found him by the highway-side :
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment; he was healed;
I had myself a wound concealed ;
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And Peace bound up my broken heart.
In prison I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor's doom at morn;
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honoured him ’midst shame and scorn:
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die;
The flesh was weak, my blood ran chill,
But the free spirit cried, "I will.”
Then in a moment to my view
The stranger darted from disguise;
The tokens in His hands I knew,
My Saviour stood before mine eyes:
He spake, and my poor name He named;
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed ;
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto Me.”
FROM heaven descend the drops of dew,
From heaven the gracious showers, Earth's winter aspect to renew,
And clothe the spring with flowers ;
From heaven the beams of morning flow,
That melt the gloom of night ;
From heaven the evening breezes blow
Health, fragrance, and delight.
Like genial dew, like fertile showers,
The words of wisdom fall,
Awaken man's unconscious powers,
Strength out of weakness call :
Like morning beams they strike the mind,
Its loveliness reveal ;
And softer than the evening wind,
The wounded spirit heal.