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LESSON VII.

The Summer Morning.-JOHN CLARE.

THE cocks have now the morn foretold,

The sun again begins to peep, The shepherd, whistling to his fold,

Unpens and frees the captive sheep. O'er pathless plains, at early hours,

The sleepy rustic slowly goes ; The dews, brushed off from grass and flowers

Bemoistening, sop his hardened shoes;

While every

leaf that forms a shade, And every floweret's silken top, And every shivering bent and blade,

Stoops, bowing with a diamond drop. But soon shall fly those diamond drops ;

The red round sun advances higher, And, stretching o'er the mountain tops,

Is gilding sweet the village spire.

'Tis sweet to meet the morning breeze,

Or list the giggling of the brook ;
Or, stretched beneath the shade of trees,

Peruse and pause on nature's book,
When nature every sweet prepares

To entertain our wished delay,The images which morning wears,

The wakening charms of early day!

Now let me tread the meadow paths,

While glittering dew the ground illumes, As, sprinkled o'er the withering swaths,

Their moisture shrinks in sweet perfumes;

And hear the beetle sound his horn;

And hear the sky-lark whistling nigh, Sprung from his bed of tufted corn,

A hailing minstrel in the sky.

LESSON VIII.

Poor Margaret.—WORDSWORTH.

Yes, it would have grieved
Your very soul to see her : evermore
Her eyelids drooped, her eyes were downward cast ;
And, when she at her table gave me food,
She did not look at me. Her voice was low,
Her body was subdued. In every act
Pertaining to her house affairs, appeared
The careless stillness of a thinking mind
Self-occupied ; to which all outward things
Are like an idle matter. Still she sighed,
But yet no motion of the breast was seen,
No heaving of the heart. While by the fire
We sat together, sighs came on my ear,
I knew not how, and hardly whence they came.

Ere my departure, to her care I gave,
For her son's use, some tokens of regard,
Which with a look of welcome she received ;
And I exhorted her to have her trust
In God's good love, and seek his help by prayer.
I took my staff, and when I kissed her babe,
The tears stood in her eyes. I left her then
With the best hope and comfort I could give ;
She thanked me for my wish ; but for my hope
Methought she did not thank me.

I returned,
And took my rounds along this road again,

Ere on its sunny bank the primrose flower
Peeped forth, to give an earnest of the spring.
I found her sad and drooping ; she had learned
No tidings of her husband ; if he lived,
She knew not that he lived; if he were dead,
She knew not he was dead. She seemed the same
In

person and appearance ; but her house
Bespoke a sleepy hand of negligence.
The floor was neither dry nor neat; the hearth
Was comfortless; and her small lot of books,
Which, in the cottage window, heretofore
Had been piled up against the corner panes
In seemly order, now, with straggling leaves,
Lay scattered here and there, open or shut,
As they had chanced to fall. Her infant babe
Had from its mother caught the trick of grief,
And sighed among its playthings. Once again:
I turned towards the garden gate, and saw,
More plainly still, that poverty and grief
Were now come nearer to her; weeds defaced
The hardened soil, and knots of withered grass ;
No ridges there appeared of clear, black mould,
No winter greenness; of her herbs and flowers,
It seemed the better part were gnawed away
Or trampled into earth; a chain of straw,
Which had been twined about the slender stem
Of a young apple-tree, lay at its root ;
The bark was nibbled round by truant sheep.

Poor Margaret is dead !
The light extinguished of her lonely hut,
The hut itself abandoned to decay,
And she forgotten in the quiet grave!

O sir! the good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust,
Burn to the socket. To her hut no one came
But he was welcome ; no one went away
But that it seemed she loved him.-

She was a woman of a steady mind,
Tender and deep in her excess of love,
Not speaking much, pleased rather with the joy
Of her own thoughts ; by some especial care
Her temper had been framed, as if to make
A being—who, by adding love to peace,
Might live on earth a life of happiness.

LESSON IX.

Christian Patriotism.-ROBERT HALL.

The principles of freedom ought, in a more peculiar manner, to be cherished by Christians, because they alone can secure that liberty of conscience, and freedom of inquiry, which is essential to the proper discharge of the duties of their profession. A full toleration of religious opinions, and the protection of all parties in their respective modes of worship, are the natural operations of a free government; and every thing that tends to check or restrain them, materially affects the interests of religion. Aware of the force of religious belief over the mind of man, of the generous independence it inspires, and of the eagerness with which it is cherished and maintained, it is towards this quarter the arm of despotism first directs its attacks; while, through every period, the imaginary right of ruling the conscience has been the earliest assumed and the latest relinquished. Under this conviction, an enlightened Christian, when he turns his attention to political occurrences, will rejoice in beholding every advance towards freedom in the government of nations, as it forms not only a barrier to the encroachments of tyranny, but a security to the diffusion and establishment of truth. A considerable portion of personal freedom may be enjoyed, it is true, under a despotic government, or, in other words,

a great part of human actions may be left uncontrolled ; but with this an enlightened mind will never rest satisfied, because it is at best but an indulgence flowing from motives of policy, or the lenity of the prince, which may be at any time withdrawn by the hand that bestowed it. Upon the same principles, religious toleration may have an accidental and precarious existence, in states whose policy is the most arbitrary ; but in such a situation, it seldom lasts long, and can never rest upon a secure and permanent basis, disappearing, for the most part, along with those temporary views of interest or policy on which it was founded. The history of every age will attest the truth of this observation.

Though Christianity does not assume any immediate direction in the affairs of government, it inculcates those duties, and recommends that spirit, which will ever prompt us to cherish the principles of freedom. It teaches us to check every selfish passion, to consider ourselves as parts of a great community, and to abound in all the fruits of an active benevolence. The particular operation of this principle will be regulated by circumstances as they arise, but our obligation to cultivate it is clear and indubitable. If we are bound to protect a neighbor, or even an enemy, from violence, to give him raiment when he is naked, or food when he is hungry, much more ought we to do our part towards the preservation of a free government, the only basis on which the enjoyment of these blessings can securely rest. He who breaks the fetters of slavery, and delivers a nation from thraldom, forms, in my opinion, the noblest comment on the law of love, whilst he distributes the greatest blessing which man can receive from man ; but next to that, is the merit of him who, in times like the present, watches over the edifice of public liberty, repairs its foundations, and strengthens its cement, when he beholds it hastening to decay.

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