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Closer, closer let us knit
Hearts and hands together,
In the wildest weather ;
THE COMMON LOT.
Once, in the flight of ages past,
There lived a man: and who was he? Mortal! howe'er thy lot be cast,
That man resembled thee. Unknown the region of his birth,
The land in which he died unknown:
This truth survives alone:
Alternate triumph'd in his breast;
Oblivion hides the rest.
The changing spirits' rise and fall;
For these are felt by all.
Enjoy'd-but his delights are fled;
And foes-his foes are dead.
Hath lost in its unconscious womb:
Her beauty from the tomb.
Encounter'd all that troubles thee;
--whatever thou hast been; He is-what thou shalt be. The rolling seasons---day and night,
Sun, moon, and stars, the earth and main, Erewhile his portion, life and light,
To him exist in vain.
That once their shades and glory threw, Have left in yonder silent sky
No vestige where they fiew. The annals of the human race,
Their ruins, since the world began, Of him afford no other trace
Than this--there lived a man!
Prayer is the soul's sincere desire
Utter'd or unexpress'd ; The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
The falling of a tear;
When nonc but God is near.
That infant lips can try: Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high. Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air; His watchword at the gates of death:
He enters heaven by prayer.
Returning from his ways;
And say, “ Behold, he prays !"
In word, and deed, and mind,
Their fellowship they find.
The Holy Spirit pleads ;
For sinners intercedes.
The Life, the Truth, the way,
Lord, teach us how to pray !
FRIEND AFTER FRIEND DEPARTS.
Friend after friend departs;
Who hath not lost a friend!
That finds not here an end:
Beyond the reign of death,
Where life is not a breath ; Nor life's affections transient fire, Whose sparks fly upward and expire.
There is a world above
Where parting is unknown;
Form'd for the good alone :
Till all are past away,
To pure and perfect day;
The bird that soars on highest wing
Builds on the ground her lowly nest;
Sings in the shade when all things rest:
She meekly sat at Jesus' feet;
Was made for God's own temple meet;
In deepest adoration bends;
Then most when most his soul ascends;
THE SUPERIORITY OF POETRY OVER SCULPTURE AND PAINTING.
Let us bring—not into gladiatorial conflict, but into honorable competition, where neither can suffer disparagement-one of the masterpieces of ancient sculpture, and two stanzas from “ Childe Harold,” in which that very statue is turned into
which seems almost to make it visible :
Now, all this, sculpture has embodied in perpetual marble, and every association touched upon in the description might spring up in a well-instructed mind, while contemplating the insulated figure which personifies the expiring champion. Painting might take up the same subject, and represent the amphitheatre thronged to the height with ferocious faces, all bent upon the exulting conqueror and his prostrate antagonist—a thousand for one of them sympathizing rather with the transport of the former than the agony of the latter. Here, then, sculpture and painting have reached their climax; neither of them can give the actual thoughts of the personages whom they exhibit so palpably to the outward sense, that the character of those thoughts cannot be mistaken. Poetry goes further than both; and when one of the sisters had laid down her chisel, the other her pencil, she continues her strain ; wherein, having already sung what each has pictured, she thus reveals that secret of the sufferer’s breaking heart, which neither of them could intimate by any visible sign. But we must return to the swoon of the dying man :
“The arena swims around him.-- he is
Ere ceased the inhuman shout that hail'd the wretch who won.
All this rush'd with his blood." Myriads of eyes had gazed upon that statue; through myriads of minds all the images and ideas connected with the combat and the fall, the spectators and the scene, had passed in the presence of that unconscious marble which has given immortality to the pangs of death; but not a soul among all the beholders through eighteen centuries,—not one had ever before thought of the “rude hut," the “ Dacian mother," the “young barbarians.” At length came the poet of passion; and, looking down upon “ The Dying Gladiator,” (less as what it was than what it represented,) turned the marble into man, and endowed it with human affections: then, away
ho A nonnines and over the Alps, away, on the wings of irre
CHARACTERISTICS OF PROSE AND VERSE.
There is reason as well as custom in that conventional simplicity which best becomes prose, and that conventional ornament which is allowed to verse ; but splendid ornament is no more essential to verse than naked simplicity is to prose. The gravest critics place tragedy in the highest rank of poetical achievements :
“Sometimes let gorgeous Tragedy,
Or the tale of Troy divine.”—1 Penseroso. Yet the noblest, most impassioned scenes are frequently distinguished from prose only by the cadence of the verse, which, in this species of composition, is permitted to be so loose, that, where the diction is the most exquisite, the melody of the rhythm can scarcely be perceived, except by the nicest ear. King Lear, driven to madness by the ingratitude and cruelty of his two elder daughters, is found by the youngest, Cordelia, asleep upon a bed in a tent in the French camp, after having passed the night in the open air, exposed to the fury of the elements during a tremendous thunder-storm. A physician and attendants are watching over the sufferer. While the dutiful daughter is pouring out her heart in tenderness over him, recounting his wrongs, his afflictions, and the horrors of the storm, the king awakes : but we will take the scene itself. After some inquiries concerning his royal patient, the physician asks :
“So please your majesty,
l' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd ? Gentleman.-Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his sleep,
We put fresh garments on him.
I doubt not of his temperance.
Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss