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A shepherd laid upon his bed, With many a sigh, his aching head, For him-his favorite boy-to whom Death had been dealt-a sudden doom. "But yesterday," with sobs he cried, "Thou wert, with sweet looks, at my side Life's loveliest blossom, and to-day, Woe's me! thou liest a thing of clay! It cannot be that thou art gone; It cannot be that now, alone, A gray-hair'd man on earth am I, Whilst thou within its bosom lie? Methinks I see thee smiling there, With beaming eyes and sunny hair, As thou wert wont, when fondling me, To clasp my neck from off my knee! Was it thy voice? Again, oh speak, My son, or else my heart will break!"

Each adding to that father's woes,
A thousand bygone scenes arose;
At home-a-field-each with its joy,
Each with its smile-and all his boy!
Now swell'd his proud rebellious breast,
With darkness and with doubt opprest;
Now sank despondent, while amain
Unnerving tears fell down like rain:
Air--air-he breathed, yet wanted breath-
It was not life-it was not death-
But the drear agony between,

Where all is heard, and felt, and seen-
The wheels of action set ajar;

The body with the soul at war.

'Twas vain-'twas vain; he could not find A haven for his shipwreck'd mind:

Sleep shunn'd his pillow. Forth he went-
The moon from midnight's azure tent
Shone down, and, with serenest light,
Flooded the windless plains of night;
The lake in its clear mirror show'd
Each little star that twinkling glow'd;
Aspens, that quiver with a breath,
Were stirless in that hush of death;
The birds were nestled in their bowers;
The dewdrops glitter'd on the flowers:
Almost it seem'd as pitying Heaven
Awhile its sinless calm had given
To lower regions, lest despair
Should make abode for ever there;
So softly pure, so calmly bright,
Brooded o'er earth the wings of night.

O'ershadow'd by its ancient yew,
His sheep-cote met the shepherd's view;

And, placid, in that calm profound,
His silent flocks lay slumbering round;
With flowing mantle by his side,
Sudden, a stranger he espied;

Bland was his visage, and his voice
Soften'd the heart, yet bade rejoice.

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Why is thy mourning thus ?" he said,
"Why thus doth sorrow bow thy head?
Why faltereth thus thy faith, that so
Abroad despairing thou dost go?
As if the God, who gave thee breath,
Held not the keys of life and death!—
When from the flocks that feed about,
A single lamb thou choosest out,

Is it not that which seemeth best

That thou dost take, yet leave the rest?-
Yes! such thy wont; and, even so,
With his choice little ones below
Doth the Good Shepherd deal; he breaks
Their earthly bands, and homeward takes,
Early, ere sin hath render'd dim
The image of the seraphim!"

Heart-struck, the shepherd home return'd;

Again within his bosom burn'd

The light of faith; and, from that day,
He trode serene life's onward way.


How pleasant is the opening year!
The clouds of Winter melt away;
The flowers in beauty reappear;
The songster carols from the spray;
Lengthens the more refulgent day;

And bluer glows the arching sky; All things around us seem to say"Christian! direct thy thoughts on high."

In darkness, through the dreary length

Of Winter slept both bud and bloom; But Nature now puts forth her strength, And starts renew'd, as from the tomb; Behold an emblem of thy doom,

O man!-a star hath shone to save-
And morning yet shall re-illume

The midnight darkness of the grave!
Yet ponder well, how then shall break
The dawn of second life on thee-
Shalt thou to hope-to bliss awake?
Or vainly strive God's wrath to flee?
Then shall pass forth the dread decree,
That makes or weal or woe thine own:
Up, and to work! Eternity

Must reap the harvest Time hath sown.


"Look to the lilies how they grow!"

'Twas thus the Saviour said, that we,
Even in the simplest flowers that blow,
God's ever watchful care might see.
Yes! naught escapes the guardian eye
Of Him, who marks the sparrow's fall,
Of Him, who lists the raven's cry-
However vast, however small.

Then mourn not we for those we love,
As if all hope were reft away,
Nor let our sorrowing hearts refuse
Submission to His will to pay.

Shall He, who paints the lily's leaf,
Who gives the rose its scented breath,
Love all His works except the chief,
And leave His image, Man, to death?
No other hearts and hopes be ours,
And to our souls let faith be given
To think our lost friends only flowers
Transplanted from this world to Heaven.

The following extracts from his "Sketches of Poetical Literature for the Past Half Century," will give some idea of Dr. Moir as a most tasteful and judicious critic:


The most sublime poetry, by far, to which the world has ever listened, is that of the Hebrew. It is immeasurably beyond all Greek and all Roman inspiration; and yet its sole theme is the Great Jehovah, and the ways and wonders of His creation. All is simply grand, nakedly sublime; and man before his Maker, even in the act of adoration, is there made to put his lips in the dust. So have done the great bards of succeeding times: Milton, and Young, and Thomson, and Cowper, and Pollok. In approaching. the shrine, they take off the sandals from their feet, well knowing that the spot whereon they stand is holy ground. But all not being great, alas! all do not so behave; and hence, in common hands, sacred poetry has become, not without reason, a subject of doubt and discussion; for in them error has dared to counsel infallibility -ignorance to fathom omniscience-and narrow-minded prejudice to circumscribe the bounds of mercy-the human irreverently to approach the Divine-and "fools to rush in where angels fear to tread."


Genius is not to be regarded by the gifted as a toy. It is a dread thing. It is like a sharp two-edged sword placed in the hand of its possessor, for much of good or of evil; and the results are exactly as it is wielded, whether to the right hand or to the left. To claim exclusive moral-say rather immoral-privileges for men of genius, as men of genius, is absurd. They ask none, they need none. Eccentricity and error may be coupled with genius, but do not necessarily arise from it-as Shakspeare, Milton, and Scott have lived to illustrate. They spring from quite another source, for they are found a thousand times oftener without such companionship than with it, and verify the epigram of Prior:—

"Yes! every poet is a fool,

By demonstration Ned can show it:
Happy could Ned's inverted rule

Prove every fool to be a poet."

Not only should the man of genius be measured by a high standard, but exactly in proportion to the extent and elevation of his powers is he doubly or triply accountable. We may rest assured that there is no discrepancy between the great and the good, for that would be quite an anomaly in the Creator's government of the universe. Only the silly and the shallow, the poetaster, the pretender, and the unprincipled, will seek to skulk behind such a transparent bulwark. Almost all the great poets of ancient and modern times (a few rare exceptions only go to strengthen the rule) have been men who reverenced Heaven and respected themselves, nobly fulfilling their destinies: those in the pleasant valleys opening up innocent fountains of ever-new delight, for solacing the depressed and refreshing the weary: these-laboring through the defiles of the difficult mountains for flowers of beauty and gems of price, unselfishly and unreservedly to be at once thrown into the general treasury-store of humanity.


The finest poetry is that (whatever critical coteries may assert to the contrary, and it is exactly the same with painting and sculpture) which is most patent to the general understanding, and hence to the approval or disapproval of the common sense of mankind. We have only to try the productions of Shakspeare, of Milton, of Dryden, of Pope, of Gray and Collins, of Scott, Burns, Campbell, and Byron, indeed, of any truly great writer whatever in any language, by this standard, to be convinced that such must be the case. Verse that will not stand being read aloud before a jury of common-sense

men, is—and you may rely upon the test-wanting in some great essential quality. It is here that the bulk of the poetry of Shelley -and not of him only, but of most of those who have succeeded him in his track as poets-is, when weighed in the balance, found wanting. And why? Because these writers have left the highways of truth and nature, and, seeking the by-lanes, have there, mistaking the uncommon for the valuable, bowed down to the idols of affectation and false taste.


Passing at a tangent from the tame, the artificial, the conventional school of Hayley, and the hyperbolical extra-mundane one of Lewis, I am willing to admit that the poetry of Joanna Baillie and William Wordsworth may have rested too exclusively on mere simplicity or naturalness of sentiment and emotion; that Scott, on the other hand, may have too unreservedly hinged on action and description; and that the Italianisms of Hunt, Keats, and Cornwall, no doubt occasionally merged into affectation. But it was scarcely to be expected, even ere Campbell had passed away from among us, and who had given us such admirable illustrations of the classical and romantic combined-that he was to see the rise, and shudder over the progress of a school-as I know he did— which was to rejoice in poetical conception without poetical execution-which was to substitute the mere accumulation of the raw materials for the triumph of art in their arrangement;-in short, to displace the Parthenon by a Stonehenge. Such, however, has been the case, and such the course of events, to whatever cause the anomaly is to be traced,-whether to the wearing out or case-hardening of the soil by the great masters, who have illuminated our age; or to the main current of the national mind having been diverted into quite another channel-that of physical science— leaving poetry to harp to the winds or to an audience sparse and select.

Simple utterance of feeling-with a mystical commentary on such utterance is all that the purest disciples of this newest of our schools aspire to. Fine images, allegorical symbols--hyeroglyphic meanings speculative thought, we have in superfluity, but no apparent aim, and seldom any attempt at composition. Tares and wheat are allowed to grow up together to one unweeded harvest, and often the bugloss and the poppy, scattered plentifully throughout the field, look very like flowers in their respective blue and

'Undoubtedly a most true criterion: how then would the greater part of the poetry of Wordsworth or of Tennyson stand this test?

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