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I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,
The manifold, soft chimes,
Like some old poet's rhymes.
From the cool cisterns of the midnight air
My spirit drank repose; The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,
From those deep cisterns flows.
O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
What man has borne before !
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
And they complain no more.
Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!
Descend with broad-winged flight, The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,
The best-beloved Night !
A PSALM OF LIFE.
WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN SAID TO THE PSALMIST.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
“Life is but an empty dream!” For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real !
Life is earnest !
And the grave is not its goal ;
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ; But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be a hero in the strife !
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead ! Act, — act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o’erhead !
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us
Footsteps on the sands of time;
Footsteps, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
THERE is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
And the flowers that grow between.
“ Shall I have nought that is fair ?” saith he;
“ Have nought but the bearded grain ? Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again.”