"Wherefore is it that we live and die?"
Who thus questioned lived a life of light,
And full many a soul in sorrow's night
Blest him in its thought when out of sight;
While each child of misery passing by
Knew why he was born, but not why he should die.
"For God’s glory do we live and die:"
Who thus answered thrust the asker out
With the unforgiven, for his doubt;
Yet his own life was a silent flout
To the God whom it should glorify:
None knew why he was born, or why he should not die.
At Hawthorne's Grave
Can any famous marble whose broad shaft
Is lettered full with words of life and death,
Whose base and cap assert the sculptor's craft
In some device that reins the rapid breath;
Can any meet the eye with such a power
As just this fragrant word of simple place?
Had ever small, white stone so rich a dower?
Ever such sovereignty, so little space
As this? Yet best befitted in a word;
Naught would one add for majesty of Fame;
Yet standing here, the fancy in me stirred,
To hedge his rest with that which bears his name,
That nature might in his memorial share,
Divulging, with her blossoms, who lies there.
Biggest of All
"Put away lying:" this the preacher's text,
When a fair Sunday crowded every pew.
He preached so close that "What is coming next?"
Kept both bare heads and bonnets all askew.
Lies of all kinds he deftly classified,
Giving the forms and colors of each class.
Where was the hearer, then, that had not lied;
Who could not somewhere find his looking-glass?
Lies of good nature, pity, courtesy,
Revenge and malice, slander, envy, fear;
The lies of business and of policy,
And lies political, told once a year.
But, at the sermon's close, the preacher leant
Over the pulpit with close-folded arms
And such a gracious smile, as if it meant
To balm the conscience pricked with truth's alarms.
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The Craigie House
Behold! a double glory resteth here,
Wherein was housed in Revolution's time
A man who while a king refused a throne,
Save in his country's grateful heart alone;
And who by singleness of soul sublime
Has made his name to every people dear.
And he who wore the poet's anadem
Kept the old relics in their primal place,
Reviving yet the age of Washington:
Poet and statesman — how their face is one
In greatness, goodness, and a world's embrace,
Though time and genius widely parted them.
A reverent love has kept the olden pile
Almost untouched by innovating hands;
Nor has Art stinted Nature, — here she lies
In ancient ampleness to bless the eyes.
Beyond are spread the open meadow-lands
That stretch away to catch the river's smile.
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