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No rocket, bursting in the midnight sky,
So dazzling. When to-morrow she awakes,
She will awake as though she still was there-
Still in her father's house; and lo, a cell,
Narrow and dark, nought through the gloom discerned—
Nought save the crucifix and rosary,
And the gray habit lying by, to shroud
Her beauty and grace.
When on her knees she fell,
Entering the solemn place of consecration,
And from the latticed gallery came a chant
Of psalms, most saint-like, most angelical,
Verse after verse sung out, how holily,
The strain returning, and still, still returning,
Methought it acted like a spell upon her,
And she was casting off her earthly dross;
Yet was it sad and sweet, and ere it closed,
Came like a dirge. When her fair head was shorn,
And the long tresses in her hands were laid,
That she might fling them from her, saying " Thus,
Thus I renounce the world and worldly things?"
When, as she stood, her bridal ornaments
Were, one by one removed, even to the last,
That she might say, flinging them from her,—“ Thus, Thus I renounce the world!" When all was changed,
And as a nun, in homeliest guise she knelt,
Veiled in her veil, crowned with her silver crown,
Her crown of lilies, as the spouse of Christ,
Well might her strength forsake her, and her knees
Fail in that hour; well might the holy man,
He, at whose foot she knelt, give, as by stealth
('Twas in her utmost need; nor while she lives
Will it go from her, fleeting as it was),
That faint but fatherly smile, that smile of love
Like a dream, the whole is fled;
And they, that came in idleness to gaze
Upon the victim dressed for sacrifice,
Are mingling with the world; thou in thy cell
Forgot, Teresa! Yet among them all
None were so formed to love and to be loved,
None to delight, adorn; and on thee now
A curtain, blacker than the night, is dropped
For ever! In thy gentle bosom sleep
Feelings, affections, destined now to die;
To wither, like the blossom in the bud,
Those of a wife, a mother; leaving there
A cheerless void, a chill as of the grave,
A langour and a lethargy of soul,
Death-like, and gathering more and more, till Death
Comes to release thee. Ah! what now to thee,
What now to thee the treasures of thy youth?
How still the Morning of the hallowed day!
Mute is the voice of rural labour, hushed
The plough-boy's whistle, and the milk-maid's song.
The scythe lies glittering in the dewy wreath
Of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers,
That yester-morn bloomed waving in the breeze.
The faintest sounds attract the ear-the hum
Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,
The distant bleating, midway up the hill.
Calmness seems throned on yon unmoving cloud.
To him who wanders o'er the upland leas,
The blackbird's note comes mellower from the dale;
And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark
Warbles his heaven-tuned song; the lulling brook
Murmurs more gently down the deep-sunk glen ;
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke
O'ermounts the mist, is heard, at intervals,
The voice of psalms, the simple song of praise.
SCOTTISH SABBATH EVENING.
OH SCOTLAND! much I love thy tranquil dales;
But most on Sabbath eve, when low the sun
Slants through the upland copse; 'tis my delight,
Wandering and stopping oft, to hear the song
Of kindred praise arise from humble roofs;
Or, when the simple service ends, to hear
The lifted latch, and mark the gray-haired man,
The father and the priest, walk forth alone
Into his garden plat, or little field,
To commune with his God in secret prayer-
To bless the Lord that, in his downward years,
His children are about him: sweet, meantime,
The thrush, that sings upon the aged thorn,
Brings to his view the days of youthful years,
When that same aged thorn was but a bush.
Nor is the contrast between youth and age
To him a painful thought; he joys to think
His journey near a close-Heaven is his home.
More happy far that man, though bowed down,
Though feeble be his gait, and dim his eye,
Than they, the favourites of youth and health,
Of riches and of fame, who have renounced
The glorious promise of the life to come,
Clinging to death.
Low on the utmost bound'ry of the sight,
The rising vapours catch the silver light;
Thence fancy measures, as they parting fly,
Which first will throw its shadow on the eye,
Passing the source of light; and thence away,
Succeeded quick by brighter still than they.
For yet above these wafted clouds are seen
(In a remoter sky still more serene)
Others, detached in ranges through the air,
Spotless as snow, and countless as they're fair;
Scattered immensely wide from east to west,
The beauteous semblance of a flock at rest.
These, to the raptured mind, aloud proclaim
Their mighty Shepherd's everlasting name;
And thus the loit'rer's utmost stretch of soul
Climbs the still clouds, or passes those that roll,
And loosed imagination soaring goes
High o'er his home, and all his little woes.
SAY, ye that know, ye who have felt and seen Spring's morning smiles, and soul-enlivening green,
Say, did you give the thrilling transport way;
Did your eye brighten, when young lambs at play
Leaped o'er your path with animated pride,
Or gazed in merry clusters by your side?
Ye who can smile-to wisdom no disgrace-
At the arch meaning of a kitten's face;
If spotless innocence, and infant mirth,
Excites to praise, or gives reflection birth;
In shades like these pursue your favourite joy,
'Midst nature's revels, sports that never cloy.
A few begin a short but vigorous race,
And indolence, abashed, soon flies the place :
Thus challenged forth, see thither, one by one,
From every side, assembling playmates run;
A thousand wily antics mark their stay,
A starting crowd, impatient of delay:
Like the fond dove from fearful prison freed,
Each seems to say, "Come, let us try our speed;"
Away they scour, impetuous, ardent, strong,
turf trembling as they bound along
Adown the slope, then up the hillock climb,
Where every molehill is a bed of thyme,
Then, panting, stop; yet scarcely can refrain,
A bird, a leaf, will set them off again :
Or, if a gale with strength unusual blow,
Scattering the wild-brier roses into snow,
Their little limbs increasing efforts try;
Like the torn flower, the fair assemblage fly.
Ah, fallen rose! sad emblem of their doom;
Frail as thyself, they perish while they bloom!