This is to live, to make the most of time;
A thousand flowers bloom beneath our feet,
A thousand birds are singing music sweet,
A thousand bells above us ring their chime;
All things subserve in harmony sublime
The good of man, and shall he then refuse?
'Twere sin indeed! the rather let him use
But not abuse, for this would lead to crime.
'Tis not to live to seek a hermit's cell,
And there o'er this world's evil idly brood;
To make man happy we with him must dwell,
The world's arena is the sphere for good.
Why should we then God's blessings e'er despise?
Who thankfully receive alone are truly wise.
Earth hath its flowers and Heaven hath its stars:
How great, Thy gift of beauty to us, Lord,
Which everywhere fair nature's scenes afford.
The world is beautiful: 'tis sin that mars
Thy handiwork; the fall hath left its scars
Upon the lovely features of our sphere.
O, truly, sin hath made great havoc here
With its most dismal train of crime and wars!
And man were ever happy but for this
Dark blight of evil that impairs his bliss,
Driving out peace, the meek-eyed turtle-dove,
Making him wretched, causing him to miss
Thro' his own recklessness and lack of love,
The priceless blessings showered from above.
Oh! I have loved thee, and do love thee still:
My love but grows the stronger as time goes,
Getting new life, as does the gentle rill
From every slope as its pure course it flows;
Or as the bees which honey sweet distil,
Sipping fresh nectar from each fragrant rose;
All my heart's pleasure is to do thy will,
And far from thee it knoweth no repose.
Thy love for me is lasting too as mine:
I see it in thine eyes, I breathe it in thy kiss,
And on thy brow, fond love, I see it shine;
Thou knowest not how much I value this
Affection sweet and dearest love of thine.
True love, requited love, 'tis more than bliss.
It was so dark and threatening, an angry cloud
That flashed bright lightning in the distant sky,
Portent of coming storm and tempest nigh,
Which soon would wrap up earth in dismal shroud:
Such was the sorrow that my poor heart cowed,
Till faith within my soul had cast her light,
Chasing the clouds away and making bright
Where for a season idle fears did crowd.
'Tis thus in life, we apprehend and fear,
Forgetful that we have a Father near
Who giveth joy and sorrow both for good;
'Tis thus our happiness is oft destroyed,
We suffer often what we might avoid,
If by us rightly God were understood.
Father above, our griefs are known to Thee,
For naught to Thee is hidden, naught concealed
Past, present, future, are to Thee revealed;
Thou knowest all that was, is, and shall be;
Thou canst into the heart's recesses see
The pent-up anguish, and the half-hushed sigh,
The tear that falls unnoticed from the eye:
The silent language of adversity.
Why should we fear? is not the promise sure?
Thou, Lord, canst help Thy children to endure;
From all their troubles Thou canst set them free.
O help us to resign! may good or ill
Be given according to Thy holy will:
We fear not, Father, for we trust in Thee.
Reader, farewell! the writer of these lays
To thee this little book doth dedicate;
In them is neither lore nor wisdom great,
Nor aught indeed deserving of much praise;
Some are the offspring of his happy days,
Others of sorrow, for is not life arrayed:
Of smiles and tears, of mingled sun and shade;
Man treads his daily path in various ways.
Should any of these tentatives e'er be
A means to soothe thy woes or gladden thee,
His work will not be fruitless and in vain:
Reward sufficient will it be indeed,
If useful fruitage crown the lowly seed,
And he delight thee with his humble strain.
Augustus Aspley Le Gros