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ODE ON THE THIRD CENTENARY OF THE

ANNUAL COMMEMORATION IN

TRINITY COLLEGE.

How sweep they by so fast,
Those chariot-wheels of Time!

On, onward, swifter than the wintry blast

Athwart a wintry clime:
On, on

- another hundred years
Pass’d, like a dream o' the night.
There is no space for mirth, no time for tears,

The swift hours sleep not in their flight,
The rivers pause not, and the mighty spheres

Still track their course of everlasting light.
Yet touch thy harp-strings, minstrel: let the throng

Sweep heedlessly along:

Pause, and with thoughtful spirits cast thine eye
Across the mighty regions left behind;
For spots lie there eternally enshrined,

And hours that will not die.

Another hundred years,

From yonder sacred pile;
The chime this day hath fallen on our ears

To bid us gather in that holy aisle,
Where once our fathers gather'd: they have gone

To their long home: and we, a little while,
Forth issuing from the cloud, speed on
Across the narrow twilight bridge, that lies
Betwixt two vast eternities,

Then hasten underneath

The second cloud of death,
That skirts the confines where our fathers are,
A land that is so nigh, and seems so far.
They must not pass without a tear away,

We must not live without deep thoughts of them; The mists are transient as the summer day,

But stars live on in Heaven's great diadem.

Thrice have a hundred years pass’d by
These sacred walls, deepens the echoing cry.

And countless visions sweep
O’er fancy's startled sleep,

Of fields of glory, wreaths of fame,
And victories won on stormy seas,
And many a warrior's spotless name

Ay, nobler deeds than these.
Heroes, who fought, but for no earthly crown;
Who fell, but ask'd of mortals no renown;
Who dared to combat for their country's God,

And for their God and country dared to die :
Their blood sank deep into the country's sod,

Who weeps too late their martyr'd memory.
And still is seen the holy mien

Of England's great free-hearted Queen ;
And still is heard the waves' exuberant roar

Casting the Armada’s wrecks in sport upon the shore.

How sweep they by so fast,

Those chariot-wheels of Time !

The echoes of the centuries are pass'd,

Like a faint vesper chime.

Yet stormful was the cry,
And loud the thunder as they grated by :

The crash of arms, the battle's groan;
And shatter'd fell the sacred monarch's throne;
And from her limbs imprison'd Freedom tore
Her fetters with a maniac's rage and roar:

Till listening to the voice of truth

She taught her proud heart gentler ruth: Till o’er a free-born race of faithful kings Heaven waved triumphantly its guardian wings.

1

The scene is changed once more:
Beneath a midnight lamp a student sits,
And muses oft long while, or reads by fits

Pages of human lore:
Then turns his ardent reverent look

To Nature's greater, nobler book,
Where from their deep blue homes on high
The stars greet meekly his meek eye,

Interpreting the lines

Of those mysterious signs,
All dimly traced upon the awful sky.

1 Sir Isaac Newton.

New visions still crowd on, and memory tells

Of glorious deeds of old,
And many a patriot's name,

But bound by mightier spells
We see them glide beneath the vaporous fold
Of the great past, nor linger o'er their fame :
Though oft, in evening's twilight dews,

We fondly love to muse,
That whilome those high sages' feet
Here humbly trode this still retreat,
And learn'd to bend a childlike ear

To the low voice of heavenly wisdom here.

How sweep they by so fast,
Those chariot-wheels of Time !

1

Leaving so brief a track of glories past,

And hurrying on to crime.
Have orphan'd children cried ?

Have captive daughters pined ?
Have groans, ere now, been cast aside

Unto the pitiless wind ?

1 The Revolution of 1789.

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