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THE THREE VOICES.
Enough that blessings undeserved
That more and more a Providence
Making the springs of time and sense,
That death seems but a covered way
That care and trial seem at last,
Through Memory's sunset air, Like mountain ranges overpast, In purple distance fair
That all the jarring notes of life
And so the shadows fall apart,
And so the west winds play; And all the windows of my heart I open to the day.
JOHN G. WHITTIER.
The Three Voices.
HAT saith the Past to thee? Weep!
Beauty hath died like the dream of a sleep,
Love is faint-hearted:
Trifles of sense, the profoundly unreal,
So, as a funeral-bell, slowly and deep,
How speaks the Present hour? Act!
So shall thy footsteps in glory be tracked,
Scorn not the smallness of daily endeavor,
Droop not o'er efforts expended in vain;
What doth the Future say? Hope!
Look where light fringes the far-rising slope-
Watch! Though so long be the twilight delaying-
Fear not, for greater is God by thy side
The Cloud on the Way.
EE, before us in our journey broods a mist upon the ground;
Thither leads the path we walk in, blending with that gloomy bound.
Never eye hath pierced its shadows to the mystery they screen,
Those who once have passed within it nevermore on earth
THE CLOUD ON THE WAY.
Now it seems to stop beside us, now at seeming distance lowers,
Leaving banks that tempt us onward bright with summer green and flowers.
Yet it blots the way forever; there our journey ends at last; With that dark cloud we enter and are gathered to the past. Thou who in this flinty pathway, leading through a stranger land,
Passest down the rocky valley, walking with me hand in hand, Which of us shall be the soonest folded to that dim Unknown, Which shall leave the other walking in this flinty path alone? Even now I see thee shudder, and thy cheek is white with fear,
And thou clingest to my side as that dark mist comes sweeping near.
“Here,” thou say’st, “the path is rugged, sown with thorns that wound the feet;
But the sheltered glens are lovely, and the rivulet's song is
Roses breathe from tangled thickets; lilies bend from ledges brown ; Pleasantly between the pelting showers the sunshine gushes down.
Far be yet the hour that takes me where that chilly shadow lies,
From the things I know and love, and from the sight of loving eyes."
So thou murmurest, fearful one, but see, we tread a rougher
Fainter grow the gleams of sunshine that upon the dark rocks play;
Rude winds strew the faded flowers upon the crags o'er which
Banks of verdure, when we reach them, hiss with tufts of withered grass.
Yet upon the mist before us fix thine eyes with closer view, See, beneath its sullen skirts the rosy morning glimmers through.
One, whose feet the thorns have wounded entered thither and came back,
With a glory on his footsteps lighting yet the dreary track. Boldly enter where he entered: all that seems but darkness here,
When thou once hast passed beyond it, haply shall be crystal clear,
Seen from that serener realm the walks of human life may lie
Like the page of some familiar volume open to mine eye. Haply from the o'erhanging shadow thou may'st stretch an unseen hand
To support the wavering steps that print with blood the rugged land.
Haply, leaning o'er the pilgrim all unweeting thou art near, Thou may'st whisper words of warning and of comfort in
Till, beyond the border where that brooding mystery bars the
Those whom thou hast fondly cherished stand with thee in peace and light.
WILLIAM C. BRYANT.
YE nymphs of Solyma! begin the song
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
Rapt into future times the bard begun :
The ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic dove.
Ye heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance;
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound,