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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-embrowned
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
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 in their daily food;
And he who battled and subdued,
A wreath of fennel wore.
Then in Life's goblet freely press
The leaves that give it bitterness,
Nor prize the coloured waters less,
For in thy darkness and distress
New light and strength they give !
And he who has not learned to know
How false its sparkling bubbles shew,
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 foemap'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!
O 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.
MAIDEN ! with the meek, brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies !
Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Golden tresses, wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run !
Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!
Gazing, with a timid glance,
On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse !
Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem,
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields elysian ?
Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove with startled eye
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hearest thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar ?
Oh, thou child of many prayers !
Life hath quicksands,— life hath snares !
Care and age come unawares !
Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough, where slumbered Birds and blossoms many-numbered ;Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather, then, each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.
Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.
Oh, that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds, that cannot heal,
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal ;
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.