Pensive Musings Composed on a Journey, July 1823
Nature, how calm thy face appears!
How smooth thy streams translucent flow!
How soft the hue thy verdure wears!
How mildly sweet thy breezes blow!
Thou breathest peace: O, might my heart
Thy tranquilizing influence feel!
But, gentle, soothing, as thou art,
Canst thou the wounded spirit heal?
From year to year the ripening grain
Luxuriant waves thy vales along,
Thy milk-white flocks adorn the plain,
Thy Woodland warblers pour the song;
Thy rocks and hills, with frowning brow,
O’erhang the restless river’s bed;
Thy mountain-flowers as beauteous blow
As when they first their bloom display’d.
Sweet Nature! thou by Him sustain’d
Whose plastic hand thy form impress’d,
In pristine beauty has remain’d:
but Man, thy passing stranger-guest,
Admires thy loveliness awhile,
And the pursues his onward way;
Beholds no more thy valleys smile,
Nor climbs thy upland summits gray.
A misty veil of formless clouds
Descends upon the traveller’s path,
A night of sudden darkness shrouds
Thy cheerful scenes: – that night is Death.
And Death has interposed, and hung
His sable veil before my view;
Its shade projects my path along,
And lays thy lights in shadow too.
O, yes! his hand, his icy hand,
Has laid my earthly treasure low:
And can by feebleness withstand
The keen reverberating blow?
Sad Memory fondly loves to trace
Those happy hours, too soon gone by,
When panting Wonder loved to gaze
On Nature’s wildest scenery;
When Friendship shared the quickening glow
Of Admiration’s kindled flame;
When Thought in converse sweet would flow,
And Pleasure, shared, Delight became.
Now, lone amidst these lofty hills,
I mournful muse on blessings flown;
A sigh my pensive bosom swells,
And Echo sad responds, – “Alone.”
Yet check that thought, repress that sigh,
Thou has a Friend whose guardian power
Protects thee here, whose watchful eye
Surveys thee in the darkest hour.
And He shall guide thy lonely way,
And He shall clear the devious path,
And He thy sinking steps shall stay,
And He shall chase the shades of death;
And in the Paradise of bliss
Thy lost society restore,
And bless thee with that perfect peace
Which Time and Death shall break no more.