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LIFE's but a walking shadow; a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
When I consider life, 't is all a cheat:
Yet, fool'd with hope, men favour the deceit;
Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay;
To-morrow's falser than the former day;
Lies more, and while it says we shall be bless'd
With some new joys, cuts off what we possess'd:
Strange cozenage! no one would live past years again,
Yet all hope pleasure in what yet remain:
And from the dregs of life think to receive
What the first sprightly running could not give.
I'm tired with waiting for this chymic gold,
Which fools us young, and beggars us when old.
Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure's smiling train,
Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of Pain;
These, mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd,
Make and maintain the balance of the mind:
The lights and shades, whose well-accorded strife
Gives all the strength and colour of our life.-Pope.
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of eternity,
Until death tramples it to atoms.
What's Life? at best a wandering breath;
When saddest, but a passing sigh;
When happiest, but a summer wreath-
A sigh of roses floating by.
Life is like yon fisher's boat-
Gay she quits the friendly shore-
On life's ocean thus we float
Till the morn of youth is o'er.
LET there be light! God said, and forthwith light Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, Sprung from the deep; and, from her native east, To journey through the airy gloom began, Sphered in a radiant cloud.
Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night;
God said, let Newton be! and all was light.-Pope.
All the world's bravery, that delights our eyes,
Is but thy several liveries;
Thou the rich dye on them bestow'st,
Thy nimble pencil paints this landscape as thou go'st.
A crimson garment in the rose thou wear'st;
A crown of studded gold thou bear'st;
The virgin-lilies, in their white,
Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light.
Light-from whose rays all beauty springs,
Darkness-whose wide expanded wings
Involves the dusky globe:
Praise Him, who, when the heavens he spread,
Darkness his thick pavilion made,
And light his regal robe.
Dark, dark, yea, irrecoverably dark,
Is the soul's eye, yet how it strives and battles
Through the impenetrable gloom to fix
That master light, the secret truth of things,
Which is the body of the infinite God!
A. H. Hallam.
From the quickened womb of the primal gloom
The sun rolled black and bare,
Till I wove him a vest for his Ethiope breast,
Of the threads of my golden hair;
And when the broad tent of the firmament
Arose on its airy spars,
I pencilled the hue of its matchless blue,
And spangled it o'er with stars.
HER lips were red, and one was thin,
Compared to that was next her chin;
Some bee had stung it newly.
Cherry ripe, cherry ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones-come and buy:
If so be you ask me where
They do grow? I answer there,
Where my Julia's lips do smile-
There's the land, or cherry isle;
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.
Her lips blush deeper sweets.
FOR what is gotten with but little pain,
As little grief it takes to lose again.
ON the green bank I lay, and listened long;
Nor till her lay was ended could I move,
But wished to dwell for ever in the grove.-Dryden.
Who with a little cannot be content,
Endures an everlasting punishment.
With head upraised, and look intent,
An eye and ear attentive bent,
And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,
In listening mood, she seemed to stand,
The guardian naiad of the strand.
Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long.
WHEN forty winters shall besiege your brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tattered weed, of small worth held.
At once came forth whatever creeps the ground,
Insect or worm: those wav'd their limber fans
For wings, and smallest lineaments exact,
In all the liv'ries deck'd of summer's pride,
With spots of gold and purple, azure and green.
Leave to low buffoons by custom bred,
And form'd by nature to be kick'd and fed,
The vulgar and unenvied task to hit
All persons, right or wrong, with random wit.
Our wise forefathers, born in sober days,
Resign'd to fools the tart and witty phrase;
The motley coat gave warning for the jest,
Excused the wound, and sanctified the pest.
But we, from high to low, all strive to sneer,
Will all be wits, and not the livery wear.
"LIVE while you live!" the epicure would say,
And seize the pleasures of the present day;
"Live while you live!" the sacred preacher cries,
And give to God each moment as it flies;
Lord, in my view let both united be!
I live in pleasure, while I live in Thee.
When all the fiercer passions cease,
(The glory and disgrace of youth;)
When the deluded soul in peace,
Can listen to the voice of truth;
When we are taught in whom to trust,
And how to spare, to spend, to give;
(Our prudence kind, our pity just,)
'Tis then we rightly learn to live.
LOATHING. LOCKS. LOFTINESS.
A SURFEIT of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings.
As some faint pilgrim standing on the shore,
First views the torrent he would venture o'er,
And then his aim upon the farther ground,
Loath to wade through, yet loather to go round.
Why do I stay within this hated place,
Where every object shocks my loathing eyes?-Rowe.
Two locks, that graceful hung behind
In equal curls, and well conspired to deck
With shining ringlets her smooth ivory neck.-Pope.
Though time has thinned thy flowing locks,
And turned their raven hue to grey,
The love within my bosom mocks
At change, and time, and dim decay;
More beautiful thou seem'st to me,
With those few locks of silver hair, Than when in youth I courted thee,
And felt and called thee wondrous fair.
My lowly verse may loftily arise,
And lift itself unto the highest skies.
He, who ascends to mountain-tops, shall find
Their loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow; He, who surpasses or subdues mankind,
Must look down on the hate of those below. Though far above the sun of glory glow,
And far beneath the earth and ocean spread, Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow Contending tempests on his naked head.