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Pleased to look on as with the winds he played,
Gazing, and musing on the bird, I strayed-
When suddenly, with startling whirring sound,
Roused by my footstep from the stubble-ground,
A partridge rose; and, with a straight low flight,
Soon caught the feathered monarch's piercing sight.
Checking his sportive course, the bird on high
Quivered a moment o'er him in the sky,
With head bent downward-then with matchless
His wings expanded now-now closing tight,
He strikes his quarry with a fatal blow,
And lays him bleeding on the grass below.
Alone, disposed for thought, and still to roam
While sank the sun into his gorgeous home-
What may I learn from this? I half inquire :
'Learn,' said a voice, that goodness to admire,
Which in the eagle hasting to his prey
Warns thee how swiftly fleet thine hours away.'
'Learn that, compared with ages infinite,
Thy life is pictured by an eagle's flight-
His flight when swiftest-when with cleaving wing
He downward darts, like arrow from the string;
And, carrying still that image in thy view,
Do with thy might whate'er thou hast to do.'
"Follow thy Lord-work on while yet 'tis light;
And be not tempted to forget the night:
Treading even now so closely on the grave,
Where wisdom ceases, and no arm can save,
See, ere thou enter, that, like yonder sun,
All that thou hast to do by day is done.'
'Let the poor victim too upon the ground
Teach thee how quickly real ills are found,
When fancied ones are fled: that bleeding bird,
Had he a friendly step in stillness heard,
Had 'scaped a foe: like many a wiser head,
He fell the victim of a needless dread.'
"He "feared where no fear was "-a mortal nigh
Was worse to him than danger from the sky:
The one was heard-the other heard nor seen,
Tho' plain above in yonder blue serene :-
If thou shouldst marvel at such folly, see
Thyself be not a greater prodigy.'
Then homeward turning, blest, methought, are they
Who live mid rural scenes, and day by day
Can roam abroad, and in their secret walk
Still find some monitor with whom to talk ;
Something which whispers, as they wander here,
That death, eternity, and God are near.
And yet again, (for, swifter than the flight
Of swiftest bird, beyond the bounds of sight
The mind can travel,) yet again, methought,
Who loves to learn may every where be taught:
Even amid the city's loudest din
A whispering voice is heard around, above, within.
Yon humble weaver sitting at his loom,
That God remembers who appoints his doom;
And though the swift-winged eagle in the sky
Rarely or never meet his languid eye,
Yet in his passing shuttle he may see
His task will soon be done-his spirit free.
Let him but meekly bear the appointed load,
And, while he toils for man, remember God;
Let him with singleness of heart and eye
Cleave to his Lord, and ever feel him nigh;
And not the wanderer in field or grove
Shall taste more sweetly that his "God is love."
A thousand mercies in the common round
Of duties and enjoyments shall be found,
To tell him by the light of that pure page,
Prized as his brightest earthly heritage,
That one whose lot was lowly as his own,
Blesses the poor man now from heaven's eternal
And yet once more my spirit winged its way
From busy haunts of men to where the spray
Of ocean beats-the sailor's boundless home,
With its still changeful, yet eternal dome :
And here, methought, amid the water's roar,
A small still voice is heard, as on the calmer shore.
What fitter image of the life of man
Than every day the sailor's eye may scan!
The perilous flood, the threatening clouds reveal
Truths deep and solemn: and when thunders peal,
And lightnings flash, and hearts not wont to quail
Sink in the breast, and the rough cheek grows pale,-
He knows the value of a rock on high,
In which, amid the horrors of the sky,
The soul may feel its anchor firm to save,
Though sink the vessel in the whirling wave ;-
Or oh! how piercing is the seaman's shriek,
If that sure rock above his soul have then to seek!