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Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;-
Tears and love for the Gray.
F. M. FINCH.
THE DAY IS DONE.
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain, And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay, That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime, Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart, As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the musio
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have
power to quiet The restless pulse of care, And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
I stood on the bridge at midnight,
As the clocks were striking the hour, And the moon rose o'er the city,
Behind the dark church-tower.
I saw her bright reflection
In the waters under me, Like a golden goblet falling
And sinking into the sea.
And far in the hazy distance
Of that lovely night in June, The blaze of the flaming furnace
Gleamed redder than the moon.
Among the long, black rafters
The wavering shadows lay,
Seemed to lift and bear them away;
As, sweeping and eddying through them,
Rose the belated tide,
The sea-weed floated wide.
And like those waters rushing
Among the wooden piers,
That filled my eyes with tears.
How often, O how often,
In the days that had gone by,
And gazed on that wave and sky!
How often, O how often,
I had wished that the ebbing tide Would bear me away on its bosom
O’er the ocean wild and wide!
For my heart was hot and restless,
And my life was full of care, And the burden laid upon me
Seemed greater than I could bear.
But now it has fallen from me,
It is buried in the sea;
Throws its shadow over me.
Yet whenever I cross the river
On its bridge with wooden piers, Like the odor of brine from the ocean
Comes the thought of other years.
And I think how
thousands Of care-encumbered men, Each bearing his burden of sorrow,
Have crossed the bridge since then.
Still passing to and fro,
And the old subdued and slow!
And forever and forever,
As long as the river flows,
As long as life has woes:
The moon and its broken reflection
And its shadows shall appear,
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
SORROW FOR THE DEAD.
The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal, every other aflliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open; this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns? Who, even when the tomb is closing upon the remains of her he most loved—when he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portals—would accept of consolation that must be bonght by forgetfulness?
No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection; when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved is softened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness, who would root out such a sorrow from his heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gayety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it, even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry?
No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn, even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave! the grave! It buries every error, covers every defect, extinguishes every resentment! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down, even upon the grave of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb, that he should ever have warred with the poor
handful of earth that lies mouldering before him?
But the grave of those we loved, what a place for meditation! There it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endearments lavished upon us, almost unheeded in the daily intercourse of intimacy; there it is that we dwell
the tenderness, the solemn, awful tenderness of the parting scene; the bed of death, with all its stifled griefs, its noiseless attendance, its mute, watchful assiduities. The last testimonies of expiring love! the feeble, fluttering, thrilling,oh, how thrilling!-pressure of the hand. The faint, faltering accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection! The last fond look of the glazing, eye, turning upon us even from the threshold of existence! Ay, go to the grave of buried love and meditate. There settle the account with thy conscience for every past benefit unrequited, every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being who can never, never, never return to be soothed by thy contrition.
If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent; if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth; if thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee; if thou art a lover, and hast ever given one unmerited pang to that true heart that now lies cold and still beneath thy feet;—then be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious word, every ungentle action will come thronging back upon thy memory, and knock dolefully at thy soul; then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant in the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the unavailing tear, more deep, more bitter, because unheard and unavailing.
Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beauties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret; but take war.ing by the bitterness of this thy contrite afllic