The ages of the world, or those most famed,
Have heretofore been from the metals named.
The envied one of all, in the times olden,
Is called, e'en to the present day, the golden,—
The one in which chain-armor did environ
Its knighted lords was named the age of iron;
A noble band, who to our time belongs,
Has christened that just gone the age of bronze;
The highest now in literary position
Call this in which we live, the age of transition,*
To save our heads from aught akin to blocks
They class us with a species of the rocks.
Well, be it so with the high thinking parts,
But save us from the story in our hearts!
Gain from the sciences whate'er they bring
To raise our minds, but let affection cling
To our own land's old ways, and while we give
Its dues to progress be conservative.
I never see Arcturus but his rays
Are dearer that upon them Job did gaze,
Nor view "the Plyads and the Northern team,
And great Orion's more refulgent beam."
Without more loving them because they crowned
Achilles' shield with the ocean poured around,
And because too their light its guidance lent
To wise Ulysses as he homeward went.
Bear as you go the treasures of the past,
And then your progress will be ne'er too fast;
But drop them, nor to their safe lights demur,
And you will be a mere adventurer.
’Tis a great age, and useful and sublime
Its teachings above all of former time.
Man's physical powers e'en what was hoped transcends,
The mighty elements trained to work his ends,
The comfortable fire of earth, the flame
Which rends the clouds, alike to serve him tame,
And along iron rails and iron wire,
Transporting him and his words with the speed of fire,
Terrestrial and celestial—wave and breeze
Contemning and the bottom of the seas
Making a pathway, and the world to spring
Into one temple of God, with praise to ring;
These are the triumphs of his knowledge now!
With what will future ages crown his brow?
The dream is out to inspired Milton given—
"Though what if earth be but the shadow of heaven?"
Its fruit the tree of knowledge is largely bearing,
And we seem the divine announcement hearing,
"Behold the man has become as one of us,
To know both good and evil." It being thus,
And having evil tried so long, and found
With how much bitterness its fruits abound,
O, may his knowledge of good teach him how good
It is the good to choose, and how he should
Place goodness above all things upon earth,
As that alone whence happiness bath birth!
What'er our labours we should have in view
To increase the good, the useful and the true,
For other ends not time nor trouble waste,
And shun the false and vicious even in taste.
Have these convictions in your mind prevailing
When you arrange your grounds and build your dwelling,
And shun, as least becoming in our nation,
The vulgar, upstart vice of ostentation.
To this rule let a general accord be,
Cherish the beautiful and shun the gaudy.
The simple and harmonious, like the dove,
Are emblems not of vanity but love:
Shun aught which teaches children to be vain—
The ornaments are purest which are plain.
Doth earth in her fantastic forms disclose
Aught half as lovely as her simple rose?
Doth heaven where all her flickering meteors are
Show any thing as beauteous as a star?
Then let God's teachings in his earth and sky
Rules for the adornment of your homes supply.
The worst of vanity is that all its cost
In toil, anxiety and gold, is lost.
What palace of what king hath such an hubbub
Kicked up in the world as old Diogenes' tub?*
That dirty cynic gained his choice variety
Of what the vain toil after, notoriety,
As much to his heart's content as mighty kings
With gaudy halls, and such vain-glorious things,
Purchase applauses, from themselves and flatterers,
And much more just abuse from their bespatterers.
Besides, in our Commonwealth, the laws
Distributing estates should make us pause
Before in buildings we pile up such cost
That the distributee of it shall be lost
In its entailed expenses, or must sell
The sweet home of his fathers to some "swell,"
And he and his brothers and sisters be debarred
From visiting the walks where erst they heard
Their mother's teachings, more impressive made
By reference to the charms of shine and shade,
And bud and bloom, and fruit in sweet accord,
Showing how such were planted by the Lord
In the Garden where He walked in the cool of the day,
When our first parents there in bliss did stay—
And how these remnants left of Paradise
Should holy talismans be to shield from vice,
And keep the bosom glowing with piety.
Yet there her children's walks no more must be—
Some speculator in the farmer's toil
Profanes the house and desecrates the soil.
"Honour thy father and mother that thy days
Be long in the land," the fifth commandment says;
Then let not parents for such houses pray
As from the land will foree their sons away;
But let their wish a modest mansion turn on,
Like that most hallowed in our world, Mount Vernon.
None in Virginia need a grander one
Than what was good enough for Washington;
However finely stuffed we think our noddles,
Depend upon it, he's the best of models.
Though from few doors such beauteous view can stretch
As down Potomac that called Washington's reach—
A lovely length of the great river of swans,
Which charmed the old Masons and the Washingtons.
Yet round our dwellings we may have such trees,
Such gardens, flowers, and fruits our toils to ease,
As were so happily grouped in light and shade
Along the walks where his country's father strayed,
And which when leisure came he smoothed his breast,
By having with their varied beauty dressed;
The hand which planted the world's greatest glory here,
To adorn his dwelling planted the magnolia;
To shade his tomb the trees designed to stand
Were native cedars, planted by his hand;
And more appropriately they guard his dust
Than obelisk or monumental bust.
No artist's chisel, nor column however grand,
Can soothe Virginians like the work of his hand,
Build monuments to his memory fair or rude
All o'er the land to attest its gratitude,
Or more important still, in all to nurture
The love of imitation of his virtue,—
But at his grave what most our hearts will please,
Are his self-planted monumental trees,—
The sheltering cedars, warmed by the glorious sun,
And cherished by the care of Washington.
We wish not at that hallowed tomb that art
Should with its charms distract the heaving heart,
But that its every throb should be a pure
Oblation to the excellence we adore,
The excellence of truth and purity
And patriotism, crowned with piety,
In one whose foot no crooked path e'er trod,
But marched straight on ’neath the command of God.
May we not triumph that this excellent one,
Whose name is honoured most beneath the sun,
As of true glory the impersonation,
Delighted most of all in his plantation,
And ’mid imperial cares his own Mount Vernon,
As to a Paradise his thoughts would turn on,
And sigh to fly from man's ingratitude
To the sweet shelter of its solitude?
We learn authentically* that when ambition
Was charged upon him in his high position
He said he had rather be on his farm in Virginia,
Than Emperor of the world—yet many are seen here
Who sigh to run ambition's airy race,
And think the country rather a stupid place:
But we must teach our children not to fall
Into this error, stupidest of all;
And as mankind are governed by affections,
Much more, alas! than by profound reflections,
We must engage our dear ones by their loves,
To live in the country, like the turtle doves,—
And to do this, we must from eve to morning
(That is the Scripture court) make their homes charming.
The evening and the morning were the third day,
When in full herbage was the world's array:
O then how beauteous were its new spring bowers!
What incense streamed to heaven from the pure flowers!
Sin was not then, and hence no sacrifice,
And the innocent world was crowned with Paradise.
And since redemption's come may we not see
The earth as God created it to be?
May not mankind, in their fallen pilgrimage,
Be raised by Faith up to their primal stage,
And find to prayer and praise the power given
Of making earth again the suburb of heaven?
This happy end to forward, charm your door
With what in Eden's Garden bloomed and bore,
With trees, and flowers, and fruits, which suit the best
Your soil and clime, surround your human nest.
If keen the blast, a bank of evergreen
Cedars, and pines, and hollies make a screen;
And bright magnolias on the sunny side
Of the warm grove the winter may deride,
And when the summer comes their fragrance pour us
From flowers which name their tribe the grandiflorus:
And cedar hedges, comfortably shape
On your grounds' edges, like fur on the cape
Of a winter garment, during frosts to form
A sunny border sheltered from the storm;
There early birds will congregate in spring,
And build their nests, and first begin to sing,—
There beds of violets will earliest bloom,
And March breathe softer for their soft perfume;
And warmed through winter by the verdant wall,
Figs and pomegranates ripen in the fall.
This sheltered spring-tide walk by that green hedging,
With violet, tulip, hyacinthine edging;
How dear to lead a sweet child in o' mornings,
And teach him Who gives earth these sweet adornings;
And thus make the frail beauties of the spring
Parents of fruits, which know no perishing!
And in another portion of your grounds,
Which this long stretch of cedar hedging bounds,
Your poultry will secure their first spring pickings,
And hens be happy with their earliest chickens;
There will the crested cock first hail the morn,
And he whose plumage Argus eyes adorn,
Spread to Aurora's bloom his Iris hues;
And there America's precious bird* abuse
His rainbow-tinted wings to scrape the ground
To rouse his feathered dames with the drum's sound.
There Guinea-fowls will chasse forward and back,
Cocks trumpeting and hens replying "Poh! track!"
And there the beautiful house-pigeon come,
A dove in form, and more than dove in plume,—
Some white as snow, some like the azure skies,
Some with the beauteous tints of hazel eyes,
Some of all colours blended with the glow
Upon their bosoms of the heavenly bow,—
Billing and cooing like the turtle doves,
And almost fit as they for pets of the loves.
I learned, when ’mong the Chickasaws a rover,
Their name for the turtle dove was putche eshova,
Which means "the pigeon that is lost;" its song
E'en on the Indian's ear, his wilds among,
Falls as the voice of one whose heart is breaking,
And's lost for the lost one its love forsaking.
Such song the heart is rapt sometimes to hear,
But ’twould be sad if ever in the ear;
And therefore Providence around our homes
Hath placed the pigeon with the varied plumes,
And made the farther off trees the happier choice
Of the sweet "lost one" with golden voice.
Such kind, far-sighted ways are Providence's,
Not e'en with sweetness will they cloy the senses.
If waves or running waters sung a tune
They would like hurdry-gurdies weary soon,—
Were bird-songs ruled by music's harmonies,
How stale would soon become their melodies
All things the mind with this great truth inspire,
What does not come from Providence will tire:
In His infinite ways variety,
So spices harmony that there's no satiety.
Bear this in mind; and follow where you can
The mighty plantings made by God for man;
E'en your green hedges have sometimes revealed
And sometimes by its sheltered bowers concealed,
So that an aspect of fatiguing sameness
May not subdue your landscape into tameness.
For the same law rules in what to the eye appears
As in the sounds which charm us through the ears,
And in that higher harmony which springs
From conduct, where the feelings are the strings,
And the great master, conscience, wakes the sounds;
There, too, alike the soul in rapture bounds,
Or sinks despondent,—if the notes awake
In heavenly airs or in earth's discords break.
There is a Chinese proverb which well says
A novice he's in vice and virtue's ways,
Who pleasure finds in those and pain in these—
God's ways alone are those which long can please:
Be they developed in the voice of a bird,
A flower, or star, or in His holy Word,
They come alike from the depths of eternity,
And fill the infinite soul of harmony.
Might mortals dare divine the source of rapture
In which their Maker dwells, ’twould be the adapture
Of infinite means to infinite ends,—still bringing
Life upon life in bliss and praises singing.
Our days are few, our labours small, but yet
Their number and their bounds by Him were set
Who gave us life and this fair world to bless it,
And with a garden the command "to dress it."
We are therefore following the primeval order
When by a garden walk we dress a border.
Ere sin carne in the world men's happy hours
Were passed in training vines and trimming flowers,
And now, as ease from toil and in some wise
To win for life a charm from Paradise,
Let's have at least one walk of the garden bordered
With beauteous flowers to bloom successive ordered.
Have it so broad that three can walk abreast,
And edged with evergreen, dwarf box is best—
Mix with the flowers dwarf trees of precious fruit,
None better than pears and plums and apricots suit;
Let frame-trained grapes their grateful shade bestow,
Whose hunches fret the arches as they grow.
Make it a rule to banish every care
When of this walk you breathe the fragrant air;
Deem it a fragment of the Garden given
To man, and traced perhaps from a walk in Heaven:
For if in the likeness of God man had his birth,
Why not in the likeness of Heaven his seat on earth?
Cherish the fancy, not for vain elation,
But as a fount of pious meditation.
Let's recollect though from our sweat we eat,
The very labour makes the bread more sweet,
And recollect though thorns and thistles come,
The flowers of Paradise still around us bloom,
And keep the spot most fragrant with their breath,
For thoughts that sweeten life and often death.
’Twould seem that ever in men's mind affinities
Have flowers and fruits united to divinities,
And the fresh hearts of the early age have shown their
Devotion through their Flora and Pomona.
Let us the worship substitute of truth
For these fair fables of the world's wild youth,
And make these blessings of this rounded clod,
The earth awaken gratitude to God.
From this adorned and broadest walk you go
To narrower ones to where in lengthened row
The various garden vegetables grow.
In lengthened row I say, for spading now
Is too expensive, we must use the plow:
And fitness is a pregnant source of beauty,
And nothing's comfortable opposed to duty;
And nothing more than precious labour's waste
Are in its prohibitions more embraced.
Of good taste, said a hard who disclaimed flattery,
"Fons ac principium," in all things, is sapere,
Which means that Horace said with truth intense,
The fountain of good taste is but good sense;
And who neglect its rules just so far fail,
Whether in writing verse or raising kale.
By this rule tried old garden squares are shams,
And Beauty walks in parallelograms
Hand in hand with Economy, and they
Meet both demands—the growths are fair and pay.
And of these growths have all your clime will yield,
By hot-beds early helped to take the field:
For without vegetables to your guest,
How can you spread though plain a pleasing feast,
Unless on some salt-water coast you dwell
Abounding with the fish of scale and shell;
Or by some forest which can fill your tables
With game whose flavour needs no vegetables?
But without such supplies you must ask pardon
For meals without the treasures of the garden.
Aided by these what else were meagre broth
Are soups to which the palate plights its truth,
Flavoured by these instead of oily water,
Are gravies rich with okra and tomato.
And what were gross in meat upon your tables
Is delicate when refined by vegetables:
Provided always not in vain you look
To aid the gardener's labours to the cook:
His skilful care your viands still require,
And if not given, why "the fat's in the fire!"
For hunger, on whatever flesh-pots set,
Must have an eye to the Kitchen Cabinet.
I know that many choose to train their bowers
About the yard, and edge its walks with flowers,—
To have remote a truck-patch to work hard in,
And round the dwelling from the flower garden,
Where stalwart sons may do the work it imposes,
And blooming daughters train their sister roses.
To such refining labour, elegant toil,
And healthful fragrance of the fresh-stirred soil,
Addict the darling beings which are given
To charm the earth with what's of the kingdom of heaven;
Turn their affections from the paths of vice
By things which made the charm of Paradise.
The only question is the place of employment,
Which brings the most of good and of enjoyment:
If in the yard your precious plants you store,
The mares and colts are banished from your door,—
No Devon calves beneath its shades can stray,
No Southdown lambs there with the children play.
The dogs must all be banished from its bowers,
Lest in their romps they break the precious flowers;
And e'en the sweet bare-footed children curb
Their gambols lest its firmness they disturb;
And all will bear the uncomfortable taint
Of want of ease and plenty of restraint.
Instead of this let freedom stamp the scene,
And trees majestic shade the well-grazed green;
Nor let its limits be too closely drawn,
The yard should rather spread into a lawn,
Beneath whose shades of verdure or of rock,
Repose the treasures of the herd and flock,
And high-bred mares in stately measure pass,
Whose colts and fillies gambol on the grass.
And, if it can be, let the lawn embrace
Some crystal water sleeping after its race,
Where cattle drink along its verdant brim,
While in its centre birds aquatic swim;
And of this tribe the graceful glorious one
In beauty and in music is the swan.
O I have seen where broad Potomac lifts,
In Westmoreland, its surges ’gainst its cliffs,
From those high bluffs, where such great men were born,
The birth-place of the greater Washington:
There rush the sea-urged billows rest to seek
Through the shallow, narrow entrance of Pope's Creek,
And spread in peace all hushed their troubled roar
Before the ancient Washingtonian door:*
There the calm shores an ample, peaceful bed
For the tossed surges of the river spread,—
And water-fowl of every exquisite kind
In its clear shallows plenteous feeding find,
And on the river flats outside the Creek
The glorious swans their water-pastures seek;
And on the aged trees by cliff and bay
The eagles watch to strike their feathered prey.
I've seen, when hunting crowned my youthful glee,
As many as seven on a single tree,
Watching the various water-fowl upon
The waves where bathed in boyhood Washington,
While within sight and sound of his first rambles
The dazzling swans were at their tuneful gambols,—
Grand birds whose notes canorous all admire,
And which in rapture rise till they expire;
As if some instinct to their breasts were given
Of how much higher than this earth is heaven.
’Tis curious and instructive, too, to scan
How scenes surrounding childhood mould the man,—
The Creek's expanded waters by his door
At rest while billows lashed the sheltering shore,
Might it not teach to cherish inward calm
However furious raged the outside storm?
And when the tempest's wild, discordant tones
Came mingled with the music of the swans,
Might it not teach in social storms to see
And fix the elements of harmony?
And from the eagle, patient at his task,
Biding his time through every adverse blast,
Might he not learn the very minute to strike
Was when the tempest made the blow unlike?
And Trenton's glories thus may take their rise
From the bald eagle swooping up his prize?
Nay, moulded by such scene, the eagle's soar,
The swan whose music shamed the tempest's roar,
The waters calm beside his boyhood's dwelling,
While near with rage the river's surge was swelling,
Might all not blend to form beneath the sky,
The highest type of aught that's born to die?
And searching through our race this very one
Do we not recognize in Washington?
The calmness of whose soul no storm could shake,
Whose harmony with right no discord break,
And whom no treasures of the earth could buy
From looking for his glory to the sky.
These are the lessons which my childhood learned
Of the pure fame which Washington has earned
From those who knew him well and loved him more,
And born close by him on Potomac's shore.
Yet puny insects of the popular breeze
Would hostile make to Washington the Lees;
Read what they writ of him, if you can achieve it,
These pages next, when if you can, believe it.
But to return to the lawn and to its waters,
And Beauty bright in her aquatic daughters:
We farmers, who are classed as cottage ones,
Can scarcely hope to have a lake of swans,
But of their tribe, and more than they in use,
We may select from every phase of goose,
And nearer much than to the mule is the donkey,
And nearer, too, than is to man the monkey,
Are Bremen geese, the half-crowned, snowy ones,
To the grand beauty of the glorious swans.
But never hope your goose will be developed
To the high charm with which the swan is enveloped:
Though Lord Monboddo thought that monkeys might,
By accident or care, reach human height,
I trust that here none such sheer nonsense cons
As that which dreams that geese may turn to swans.
Somebody wrote the Vestiges of Creation,
And on the shallow-learned made a sensation.
His theory was that of development
By which the lower into the higher went.
We farmers know he was a braying ass,
For that a mule to a horse can never pass,
And that a cross of the common goose, our biped
With the wild winter one, is but a hybrid.
Nay, the great law of nature is so defined,
Seed after seed shall each produce its kind,
That by no mingling can we ever cheat
The bearded to become unbearded wheat,
Nor coax a damson though with skill we come
And care to the task, to swell into a plum.
Yet the poor charlatans whose toil is given
To rob the panting earth of rest in heaven,
Would have us really believe that man
Is of the monkey but a larger span;
And as our limbs are liken, by the dog
To pass, and find our embryo in the frog!
And beings told they are made in the image of God
Are pleased to see in reptiles their seed-pod!
This is as it should be!—those who from the Giver
Of life and of the hope that is forever,—
If they can turn from Him and the knowledge away
Of truth which they obtain from day to day,
To welcome what mere speculation tells,
What are they but the shallowest infidels,
Who rather trust to the ephemera of man
Than prophets, who have been since the world began,
And think the charlatan of the day discloses
More light than beamed from Milton or from Moses?
Among the blessings to the farmer given
Is that his toil still lifts his mind to heaven:
Apollos well may water and Paul plant,
But God and only God can the increase grant.
For all the lower creatures of the earth,
All things He ordained when the ordained their birth;
To man He gave the dignity to choose
How all the blessings offered he might use;
Nay, an indulgent Father, let his choice
Extend to hearken not to His own voice!
O fearful privilege! Why didn't he make
Our path fixed as a bear's tied to a stake?
Nay, bind our being to a summer's beam,
Like some fair annual's blooming by a stream,
So we could ne'er abuse the bounty given,
But give it all in incense back to heaven?
Why didn't He do it? O immortal soul,
Through thy mysterious depths doth echo roll
The question back from heaven, Why didn't He do it?
And man's referred to his own mind to show it:
For naught essential to knowledge of good and right
Hath our blessed Maker hidden from our sight.
And when comes echoed from the sky again
"Why didn't He do it?" is not the answer plain?
He would not in His likeness beings form
Fixed as a plant or bounded as a worm.
This world is like the rest in the stellar heights
As proved by the ingredients of the aerolites,
Which come as doth the high La Place attest,
To earth "des profondeurs de l'espace celeste,"
Yes, every meteoric stone that's driven
Against the earth comes from the depths of heaven
Like comets sent to enable man to try
Conclusions with the wonders of the sky.
No doubt among the ultimate uses meant
Of that bright wonder now in the firmament
Which just below the golden fur of the Bear
Bends the long glory of its shining hair,
Seeking the earth through realms so distant from it
To plume her spangled night-cap with a comet,
Is that it should to science' toilsome flights
A resting place afford in the heavenly heights,
Where the bright eyes of the world may fix their view,
Aragos, Sir John Herschell's, Maury's, too,
To learn if the great sun's resplendent rays
Are but electric fires in endless blaze,
So wonderful to exalt the intelligence
Of man are the high ways of Providence,
That light, too, on our earth in glory strewn,
Is vibrated in ether round the throne
Where sits the Maker of all the shining suns,
And every planet which around them runs,
Singly, or with their rings and moons like Saturn's,
Of which in the sky there may be millions of paterns;
And of that subtle essence exquisite chains
Is made perhaps the indissoluble reins
By which God guides the interminable race
Of all his shining worlds through endless space;
His glorious infinite team of stars still going
On with beatitudes for immortals glowing.
And not alone in physics is perceived
How much with the heavenly world is this inweaved;
For it is certain since the world began
Through all the tribes which claimed the shape of man,
Hath ran an instinct which proclaims we must
In something supernatural put our trust—
That trust which human cannot supply
In life's great agonies nor when we die.
And the evening had not rounded the sixth day,
And the world was yet uncrowned when God did say,
Let us make man in our image and
Give him dominion o'er the sea and land
And all that they inherit; and ’twas done;
And as the races followed one by one,
To them the earth was parcelled, till the ground
Was measured out at last by mete and bound
To individuals with the power to waste,
Enrich, deform or adorn it to their taste.
Our land at least is in our farmers' charge;
’Tis theirs its blessings to curtail or enlarge.
As they impoverish their fields or nourish,
Must all our Commonwealths decay or flourish;
And as their children they attract from vice
By the beatitudes of Paradise,—
Waking some happy, holy lesson heard
In every opening flower or chirping bird,
As they walk with them in the cool of the day
So will our virtues flourish or decay:
And ’tis a truth all history serves to nurture,
There can be no free government without virtue.
It is auspicious that our favoured ones,
Those the republic deemed her greatest sons,
All loved the country and some rural seat
Adorned to make from toil retirement sweet.
Of our first Presidents the fair abodes
Have long familiar been as household words,
And are the spots where patriots love to go
To feel their bosoms grand emotions glow.
Two other spots a kindred interest yield
To patriot pilgrims, Ashland and Marshfield;
Two mighty sons of the new world would there
Refresh their minds and wasted strength repair.
And mighty minds they were; one like his forest,
Lofty and grand, and spreading wide, the poorest
And richest striving both alike to save
From inundation by the foreign wave.
The other's home was by the boundless sea,
The likeness upon earth of eternity.
There in its kindred grandeur Webster's soul
Could let its musings chime with the billow's roll,
As his thoughts glanced along their foamy curls,
To the blessings, each to each, of the two worlds:
Long may the fires kindled at their graves
Spread through the land the light that guides and saves!
Nor can I leave unmentioned on this page
That of the "old hero" at the Hermitage,
Who took the responsibility of duty,
And made the "Booty" sought the shield of "Beauty."
O'erwhelming from light walls of cotton-bags,
Troops used to victory under Wellington's flags:
And who, when in his country's highest station,
To crush dissentious in its population,
Vowed—to high Washingtonian action nerved—
"The Union must, and it shall be preserved!"
They say he had faults, and who that this earth nurtures
Have not? But O, how few have his grand virtues!
May such an one be here its rage to breast,
Whene'er Disunion rears its Gorgon-crest!
Great Samuel Johnson said he envied none
Whose breasts upon the field of Marathon
With love of country did not warmer glow, nor
Their piety feel exalted at Iona.
We undistinguished ones can't have enshrined
Our homes in the affections of mankind,
But if our humble paths be truly trod,
We'll have, what's higher far, the love of God,
We'll have, what's dearer far, our own sweet sons
And daughters, in their generations
Make pilgrimages to the ancestral seat,
And tell their children's children how ’twas sweet,
In the old gentleman's time who grouped the bowers,
And shaped the walks and bordered them with flowers,
And dappled them with fruits of gold and azure,
And hung with grapes the shades for evening's leisure—
Yes, how ’twas sweet to hear the affectionate tones
Of his loved voice to all his darling ones,
Telling them how this garden he had made,
And decked with every charm of sun and shade,
And flower and fruit, not for their earthly senses
Alone, but as attractive evidences
Of how minutely studious of our good
Is God, and what should he our gratitude!
And he would say, "My children when I'm gone,
And in the grave-yard sleep beneath my stone,
Remember all the instructions I have given
To bind this little spot of earth to Heaven.
Remember that I told you that I planted
These trees and flowers as things in kindness granted
To man, with which to imitate the walks
Where God with our first parents held his talks.
Let them remind you that the highest sense
Of man, is to his Maker obedience:
O, thank Him for the laws he deigns to give!
So far you know exactly how to live,
And pray that in things, which to make us sublime,
And raise our being above the tide of time,
He hath left us to find out the proper way,
He would so guide us that we shall not stray."
Suppose that every farmer should do this,
Might not the world he crowned with bowers of bliss,
And the divine suggestion be forgiven,
"Though what if earth be but the shadow of heaven?"
O God, I pray, as thou seest, with streaming eyes,
That this may be, and my country nearest the skies!