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THE PRIMROSE OF THE ROCK

          A ROCK there is whose homely front
            The passing traveller slights;
          Yet there the glow-worms hang their lamps,
            Like stars, at various heights;
          And one coy Primrose to that Rock
            The vernal breeze invites.

          What hideous warfare hath been waged,
            What kingdoms overthrown,
          Since first I spied that Primrose-tuft
            And marked it for my own;                                 10
          A lasting link in Nature's chain
            From highest heaven let down!

          The flowers, still faithful to the stems,
            Their fellowship renew;
          The stems are faithful to the root,
            That worketh out of view;
          And to the rock the root adheres
            In every fibre true.

          Close clings to earth the living rock,
            Though threatening still to fall;                         20
          The earth is constant to her sphere;
            And God upholds them all:
          So blooms this lonely Plant, nor dreads
            Her annual funeral.

                *         *         *         *

          Here closed the meditative strain;
            But air breathed soft that day,
          The hoary mountain-heights were cheered,
            The sunny vale looked gay;
          And to the Primrose of the Rock
            I gave this after-lay.                                    30

          I sang--Let myriads of bright flowers,
            Like Thee, in field and grove
          Revive unenvied;--mightier far,
            Than tremblings that reprove
          Our vernal tendencies to hope,
            Is God's redeeming love;

          That love which changed--for wan disease,
            For sorrow that had bent
          O'er hopeless dust, for withered age--
            Their moral element,                                      40
          And turned the thistles of a curse
            To types beneficent.

          Sin-blighted though we are, we too,
            The reasoning Sons of Men,
          From one oblivious winter called
            Shall rise, and breathe again;
          And in eternal summer lose
            Our threescore years and ten.

          To humbleness of heart descends
            This prescience from on high,                             50
          The faith that elevates the just,
            Before and when they die;
          And makes each soul a separate heaven,
            A court for Deity.
                                                              1831.


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