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hand; and in, at most, a few weeks, the sons of the forest, that reared their heads so proudly, must stand naked and forlorn-spoiled of their leafy honours ;—the blushing fruit be plucked away from its parent boughs ;-and the verdant grass look dank and cheerless, drenched with showers, and overspread with decayed foliage :while the other, like many a “dim and twilight path of life,” terminated in objects which never changed ;-in a rock, that like the “Rock of Ages,” trembled not beneath flood or storm; and a flowing brook which gushed from its recesses, and, like his abounding mercies, knew “neither variableness nor shadow of turning.”
These days are already numbered with "the years beyond the flood!”—The icy reign of Winter is now at hand; the face of Nature wears the desolate look of sickliness and age; and soon wood, and field, and hedgerow shall cease to exhibit one trace of that loveliness they so lately
There was a time when I should have regarded their changing aspect with other feelings than those I now experience; and have said, with the Jewish convert, ere he knew the glorious truths of Revelation,—“Such is the fate of man! -To-day he blooms - to-morrow withers—the next day dies; and other men follow, to bloom, and decay, and depart as he has done !" But now I can look on these mutations of nature with tranquillity and hope: I am no longer left, in the wildering mazes of scepticism, to exclaim-
“When will spring visit the mouldering urn? 0, when shall day dawn on the night of the grave?”
For now “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me.” And, rejoicing in this consolation, I feel awfully impressed with the necessity of presenting the Sacred Volume to those, who, yet ignorant of its truth, are in danger of perishing everlastingly; whose harvest is past, whose summer is ended, while they are not saved.
When autumn's deepening shadows fall
On mountain and on lea;
The thought—“How frail are we!”
And terrors of the tomb;
O'er forms laid in its gloom;
When all things round us of decay
And desolation tell,
From scenes we loved too well ;-
Whatever griefs prevail,
And soothes the mourner's wail !
A God who once man's image bore,
And bowed to man's estate,
Man's faded glory to restore,
His bliss to renovate;
Is changeless and the same-
And calls him by his name.
Then let the clouds and tempests lower,
The wild winds fiercely rave;
And lay us in the grave :
Need Faith triumphant dread;
And raise her from the dead. *
October 14, 1827.
These lines, originally written as an appropriate conclusion to the article which they follow, have been, in the beginning of the autumn just past, republished among the minor pieces included in the same volume with the “ Visions of Solitude.” Kiltynan Castle still stands as firmly as ever on its rocky base; and the roaring spring still sends forth its waters as, from time immemorial, it has done. But, alas! the blight of sorrow and death has fallen on some of the group, among whom the author passed those days which are the subject of the foregoing recollections; and one in the prime of manly life, and one in the pride of virgin spring, have been summoned to their long home, or rather called, he would hope, from " the evil to come.'
December 11, 1830.
“ The leafless trees my fancy please,
There are a few fine days which generally occur about the end of October, or beginning of November, and immediately before the setting in of winter, which, as far back as I can recollect, have possessed a peculiar, and, though melancholy, somewhat pleasing influence over my feelings. There is an enfeebled but soothing mildness in the light of day, nearly allied to the effect of moonlight; a kind of Sabbath pause, interrupted only at intervals by the call of the cowherd, or as the thunder of the fowling-piece prevails. The fields and inclosures are just cleared of their harvest treasures, and the web of the gossamer extends in unbroken and floating pathway over stubble and lea. Vegetation is every where passing rapidly into decay: and the brown breast and solitary chirp of the robin, accord well with the fern-withered and seared,--with that sombre aspect of colouring which tree and forest everywhere put on. In the appropriate and picturesque language of Scripture—“The earth mourneth and languisheth—Sharon is like a wilderness—and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.” There are a great many reflections, which not only spontaneously, but, as it were, urgently, offer then selves to one's consideration at this season, all closely associated with the appearance of external nature.
It is now that the labourer is about to enjoy a temporary mitigation of the season's toil. His little store of winter provisions having been hardly earned, and safely lodged, his countenance brightens, and his heart warms with the anticipation of winter comforts. As the day shortens, and the hours of darkness increase, the domestic affections are awakened anew by a closer and more lengthened converse.
The father is now, once more, in the midst of his family; the child is now, once more, on the knees of its parent; and she, in whose happiness his heart is principally interested, is permitted, by the blessed privileges of the season, to participate his enjoyment.
It is now that the husbandman is repaid for his former risk and anxiety,—that having waited patiently for the former and the latter rain," he builds up his sheaves, loads his waggons, steeks his stiles," and replenishes his barns; that he is prepared, or at least authorized, in the fulness of a grateful heart, to exclaim-"Soul, take thy rest, for the work of the season is accomplished, and the year hath been crowned with the Great Creator's bounty."
We are cradled on the knee of age-our earliest recollections, and our most sincere and genuine affections, are associated with the tottering step and wrinkled brow --with the venerated in