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Say not, the struggle naught availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain, The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light; In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!
LITTLE thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown
Of thee, from the hill-top looking down;
The heifer that lows in the upland farm
Far heard, lows not thine ear to charm;
The sexton, tolling his bell at noon
Deems not that great Napoleon
Stops his horse, and lists with delight
Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height;
Nor knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbor's creed has lent.
All are needed by each one
Nothing is fair or good alone.
I thought the sparrow's note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder-bough;
I brought him home, in his nest, at even;
He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear - they sang to my eye.
The delicate shells lay on the shore;
The bubbles of the latest wave
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave,
And the bellowing of the savage sea
Greeted their safe escape to me.
I wiped away the weeds and foam -
I fetched my sea-born treasures home;
But the poor, unsightly, noisome things
Had left their beauty on the shore,
With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar.
The lover watched his graceful maid,
As 'mid the virgin train she strayed ;
Nor knew her beauty's best attire
Was woven still by the snow-white choir.
At last she came to his hermitage,
Like the bird from the woodlands to the cage;
The gay enchantment was undone -
A gentle wife, but fairy none.
Then I said: “I covet truth;
Beauty is unripe childhood's cheat ;
I leave it behind with the games of youth.”–
As I spoke, beneath my feet
The ground-pine curled its pretty wreath,
Running over the club-moss burrs;
I inhaled the violet's breath;
Around me stood the oaks and firs;
Pine-cones and acorns lay on the ground;
Over me soared the eternal sky,
Full of light and of deity;
Again I saw, again I heard,
The rolling river, the morning bird ;
Beauty through my senses stole -
I yielded myself to the perfect whole.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
FILLED is Life's goblet to the brim,
And though my eyes with tears are dim,
I see its sparkling bubbles swim,
And chant a melancholy hymn,
With solemn voice and slow.
No purple flowers, --no garlands green,
Conceal the goblet's shade or sheen,
Nor maddening draughts of Hippocrene
Like gleams of sunshine, flash between
Thick leaves of mistletoe.
This goblet, wrought with curious art,
Is filled with waters, that upstart,
When the deep fountains of the heart,
By strong convulsions rent apart,
Are running all to waste.
And as it mantling passes round,
With fennel is it wreathed and crowned,
Whose seed and foliage sun-imbrowned
Are in its waters steeped and drowned
And give a bitter taste.
Above the lowly plants it towers,
The fennel with its yellow flowers,
And in an earlier age than ours,
Was gifted with the wondrous powers
Lost vision to restore.
It gave new strength and fearless mood,
And gladiators fierce and rude
Mingled it with their daily food,
And he who battled and subdued
A wreath of fennel wore.
Then in Life's waters freely press
Those things which give it bitterness,
Nor prize its colored waters less;
For in thy darkness and distress
Fresh light and strength they give.
And he who has not learned to know,
How false its sparkling bubbles show,
How bitter are the drops of woe
With which its brim may overflow,
He has not learned to live.
The prayer of Ajax was for light,
Through all that dark and desperate fight,
The blackness of that noonday night,
He asked but the return of sight
To see his foeman's face.
Let our unceasing, earnest prayer
Be too for light, for strength to bear
Our portion of the weight of care,
That crushes into dumb despair
One half the human race.
O suffering, sad humanity!
afflicted ones who lie Steeped to the lips in misery, Longing, and yet afraid to die,
Patient, though sorely tried ! I pledge you in this cup of grief, Where floats the fennel's bitter leaf ! The Battle of our Life is brief, The alarm — the struggle — the relief
Then sleep we side by side.