XII. SHORT SELECTIONS IN POETRY. (94)
1. The cloud.
A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun,
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow;
Long had I watched the glory moving on,
O’er the still radiance of the lake below:
Tranquil its spirit seemed, and floated slow,
E’en in its very motion there was rest,
While every breath of eve that chanced to blow,
Wafted the traveler to the beauteous west.
Emblem, methought, of the departed soul,
To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given,
And by the breath of mercy made to roll
Right onward to the golden gate of heaven,
While to the eye of faith it peaceful lies,
And tells to man his glorious destinies.
II. MY MIND.
My mind to me a kingdom is;
Such perfect joy therein I find,
As far exceeds all earthly bliss
That God or nature hath assigned;
Though much I want that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.
Note.—This is the first stanza of a poem by William Byrd (b, 1543, d. 1623), an English composer of music.
III. A GOOD NAME. (95)
Good name, in man or woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse, steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
Shakespeare.—Othello, Act iii, Scene iii.
But yonder comes the powerful king of day,
Rejoicing in the east. The lessening cloud,
The kindling azure, and the mountain’s brow
Illumed with liquid gold, his near approach
Betoken glad. Lo! now apparent all,
Aslant the dew-bright earth and colored air
He looks in boundless majesty abroad,
And sheds the shining day that, burnished, plays
On rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering streams,
High gleaming from afar.
V. OLD AGE AND DEATH. (95)
Edmund Waller, 1605-1687, an English poet, was a cousin of John Hampden, and related to Oliver Cromwell. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge. Waller was for many years a member of Parliament. He took part in the civil war, and was detected in a treasonable plot. Several years of his life were spent in exile in France. After the Restoration he came into favor at court. His poetry is celebrated for smoothness and sweetness, but is disfigured by affected conceits. ###