Believe that there is that in the fact of truth, though it be only in the character of a single leaf earnestly studied, which may do its share in the great labor of the world: remember that it is by truth alone that the Arts can ever hold the position for which they were intended, as the most powerful instruments, the most gentle guides; that, of all classes, there is none to whom the celebrated words of Lessing, “That the destinies of a nation depend upon its young men between nineteen and twenty-five years of age,” can apply so well as to yourselves. Recollect, that your portion in this is most important: that your share is with the poet’s share; that, in every careless thought or neglected doubt, you shelve your duty, and forsake your trust; fulfil and maintain these, whether in the hope of personal fame and fortune, or from a sense of power used to its intentions; and you may hold out both hands to the world. Trust it, and it will have faith in you; will hearken to the precepts you may have permission to impart.
Oh! roses for the flush of youth,
And laurel for the perfect prime;
But pluck an ivy-branch for me,
Grown old before my time.
Oh! violets for the grave of youth,
And bay for those dead in their prime;
Give me the withered leaves I chose
Before in the olden time.
Another day hath dawned
Since, hastily and tired, I threw myself
Into the dark lap of advancing sleep.
Meanwhile through the oblivion of the night
The ponderous world its old course hath fulfilled;
And now the gradual sun begins to throw
Its slanting glory on the heads of trees,
And every bird stirs in its nest revealed,
And shakes its dewy wings.
Unto the weary hath been mine to-night,
Slumber unbroken: now it floats away:—
But whether ’twere not best to woo it still,
The head thus properly disposed, the eyes
In a continual dawning, mingling earth
And heaven with vagrant fantasies,—one hour,—
Yet for another hour? I will not break
The shining woof; I will not rudely leap
Out of this golden atmosphere, through which
I see the forms of immortalities.
Verily, soon enough the laboring day
With its necessitous unmusical calls
Will force the indolent conscience into life.
The uncouth moth upon the window-panes
Hath ceased to flap, or traverse with blind whirr
The room’s dusk corners; and the leaves without
Vibrate upon their thin stems with the breeze
Flying towards the light. To an Eastern vale
That light may now be waning, and across
The tall reeds by the Ganges, lotus-paved,
Lengthening the shadows of the banyan-tree.
The rice-fields are all silent in the glow,