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Upturned, as if his mind were rapt, or lost
In some abstraction ;-gracefully he stood,
The semblance bearing of a sculptured Form
That leans upon a monumental Urn
In peace, from morn to night, from year to year.

Him from that posture did the Sexton rouze; Who entered, humming carelessly a tune, Continuation haply of the notes That had beguiled the work from which he came With spade and mattock o'er his shoulder hung; To be deposited, for future need, In their appointed place. The pale Recluse Withdrew; and straight we followed,—to a spot Where sun and shade were intermixed; for there A broad Oak, stretching forth its leafy arms From an adjoining pasture, overhung Small space of that green church-yard with a light And pleasant awning. On the moss-grown wall My ancient Friend and I together took Our seats ; and thus the Solitary spake, Standing before us. “ Did you note the mien Of that self-solaced, easy-hearted churl,

Death's Hireling, who scoops out his Neighbour's grave,
Or wraps an old Acquaintance up in clay,
As unconcerned as when he plants a tree?
I was abruptly summoned by his voice
From some affecting images and thoughts
And from the company of serious words.
Much, yesterday, was said in glowing phrase
Of our sublime dependencies, and hopes
For future states of Being; and the wings
Of speculation, joyfully outspread,
Hovered above our destiny on earth;
But stoop, and place the prospect of the soul
In sober contrast with reality
And Man's substantial life. If this mute earth
Of what it holds could speak, and every grave
Were as a volume, shut, yet capable
* Of yielding its contents to eye and ear,
We should recoil, stricken with sorrow and shame,
To see disclosed, by such dread proof, how ill
That which is done accords with what is known
To reason, and by conscience is enjoined ;
How idly, how perversely, Life's whole course,
To this conclusion, deviates from the line,

Or of the end stops short, proposed to all At its aspiring outset. Mark the Babe Not long accustomed to this breathing world; One that hath barely learned to shape a smile, Though yet irrational of Soul to grasp With tiny fingers, to let fall a tear, And, as the heavy cloud of sleep dissolves, To stretch his limbs, bemocking, as might seem, The outward functions of intelligent Man; A grave Proficient in amusive feats Of puppetry, that from the lap declare His expectations, and announce his claims To that inheritance which millions rue That they were ever born to! In due time A day of solemn ceremonial comes; When they, who for this Minor hold in trust Rights that transcend the unblest heritage Of mere Humanity, present their Charge, For this occasion daintily adorned, At the baptismal Font. And when the pure And consecrating element hath cleansed The original stain, the Child is there received Into the second Ark, Christ's Church, with trust

That he, from wrath redeemed, therein shall float
Over the billows of this troublesome world
To the fair land of everlasting Life.
Corrupt affections, covetous desires,
Are all renounced ; high as the thought of man
Can carry virtue, virtue is professed ;
A dedication made, a promise given
For due provision to controul and guide,
And unremitting progress to ensure
In holiness and truth.”

“ You cannot blame,"
Here interposing fervently I said,
“ Rites which attest that Man by nature lies
Bedded for good and evil in a gulph
Fearfully low ; nor will your judgment scorn
Those services, whereby attempt is made
To lift the Creature tow'rds that eminence
On which, now fallen, erewhile in majesty
He stood; or if not so, whose top serene
At least he feels 'tis given him to descry;
Not without aspirations, evermore
Returning, and injunctions from within
Doubt to cast off and weariness; in trust

That what the Soul perceives, if glory lost,
May be through pains and persevering hope
Recovered; or, if hitherto unknown,
Lies within reach, and one day shall be gained.”

“ I blame them not,” he calmly answered—“no ; The outward ritual and established forms With which Communities of Men invest These inward feelings, and the aspiring views To which the lips give public utterance Are both a natural process; and by me Shall pass uncensured; though the issue prove, Bringing from age to age its own reproach, Incongruous, impotent, and blank.—But oh! If to be weak is to be wretched—miserable, As the lost Angel by a human voice Hath mournfully pronounced, then, in my mind, Far better not to move at all than move By impulse sent from such illusive Power, That finds and cannot fasten down; that grasps And is rejoiced, and loses while it grasps; That tempts, emboldens—doth a while sustain, And then betrays; accuses and inflicts

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