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The lark has sung his carol in the sky;
The bees have hummed their noon-tide lullaby.
Still in the vale the village-bells ring round,
Still in Llewellyn-hall the jests resound:
For now the caudle-cup is circling there,
Now, glad at heart, the gossips breathe their prayer,
And, crowding, stop the cradle to admire
The babe, the sleeping image of his sire.
A few short .years—and then these sounds shall hail
The day again, and gladness fill the vale ;
So soon the child a youth, the youth a man,
Eager to run the race his fathers ran.
Then the huge ox shall yield the broad sir-loin;
The ale, now brewed, in floods of amber shine:
And, basking in the chimney's ample blaze,
Mid many a tale told of his boyish days,
The nurse shall cry, of all her ills beguiled,
“ 'Twas on these knees he sate so oft and smiled.
And soon again shall music swell the breeze;
Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees
Vestures of nuptial white; and hymns be sung,
And violets scattered round; and old and young,
In every cottage-porch with garlands green,
Stand still to gaze, and, gazing, bless the scene;
While, her dark eyes declining, by his side
Moves in her virgin-veil the gentle bride.
And once, alas, nor in a distant hour,
Another voice shall come from yonder tower;
When in dim chambers long black weeds are seen,
And weepings heard where only joy has been;
When by his children borne, and from his door
Slowly departing to return no more,
He rests in holy earth with them that went before.
And such is Human Life ; so gliding on,
It glimmers like a meteor, and is gone!
Yet is the tale, brief though it be, as strange,
As full methinks of wild and wondrous change,
As any that the wandering tribes require,
Stretched in the desert round their evening-fire;
As any sung of old in hall or bower
To minstrel-harps at midnight's witching-hour!
Born in a trance, we wake, reflect, inquire;
And the green earth, the azure sky admire.
Of Elfin size-for ever as we run,
We cast a longer shadow in the sun!
And now a charm, and now a grace is won!