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THE CLOSING SCENE.
Within this sober realm of leafless trees,
The russet year inhaled the dreamy air, Like some tann'd reaper in his hour of ease,
When all the fields are lying brown and bare. The gray barns, looking from their hazy hills
O'er the dim waters widening in the vales,
On the dull thunder of alternate flails.
The hills seem'd farther, and the streams sang low; As in a dream, the distant woodman hew'd
His winter log with many a muffled blow. The embattled forests, erewhile arm'd in gold,
Their banners bright with every martial hue, Now stood, like some sad beaten host of old,
Withdrawn afar in Time's remotest blue.
On slumberous wings the vulture tried his flight;
The dove scarce heard his sighing mate's complaint; And, like a star slow drowning in the light,
The village church-vane seem'd to pale and faint. The sentinel cock upon the hill-side crew,
Crew thrice, and all was stiller than before,Silent till some replying wanderer blew
His alien horn, and then was heard no more. Where erst the jay within the elm's tall crest
Made garrulous trouble round the unfledged young; And where the oriole hung her swaying nest
By every light wind like a censer swung ; Where sang the noisy masons of the eves,
The busy swallows circling ever near,
An early harvest and a plenteous year;
Shook the sweet slumber from its wings at morn,
All now was songless, empty, and forlorn. Alone from out the stubble piped the quail,
And croak’d the crow through all the dreary gloom; Alone the pheasant, drumming in the vale,
Made echo to the distant cottage-loom.
There was no bud, no bloom, upon the bowers;
The spiders wove their thin shrouds night by night; The thistle-down, the only ghost of flowers,
Sail'd slowly by-pass'd noiseless out of sight.
Amid all this,-in this most cheerless air,
And where the woodbine sheds upon the porch Its crimson leaves, as if the year stood there,
Firing the floor with his inverted torch,Amid all this, the centre of the scene,
The white-hair'd matron, with monotonous tread, Plied her swift wheel, and with her joyless mien
Sat like a Fate, and watch'd the flying thread. She had known Sorrow. He had walk'd with her,
Oft supp'd, and broke with her the ashen crust, And in the dead leaves still she heard the stir
Of his black mantle trailing in the dust. While yet her cheek was bright with summer bloom,
Her country summon'd, and she gave her all,
He gave the swords to rest upon the wall.
And struck for liberty the dying blow;
Fell ’mid the ranks of the invading foe.
Like the low murmurs of a hive at noon;
Breathed through her lips a sad and tremulous tune. At last the thread was snapp'd, her head was bowd:
Life droop'd the distaff through his hands serene; And loving neighbors smoothed her careful shroud,
While Death and Winter closed the autumn scene.
THE DESERTED ROAD.
Ancient road, that wind'st deserted
Through the level of the vale,
Like a stream without a sail;
And, as in the light of dreams,
Like thy whitely tented teams.
As in youth's departed morn;
And the driver's bugle-horn,-
Filling buckets at the wells,
And their orchestras of bells.
To the mossy way-side tavern
Comes the noisy throng no more,
Swings, unnoticed, at the door;
Waiting for the few who pass,
In the thickly-springing grass.
The usurper of the vale
Exultations on the gale.
Thou art vanquish'd and neglected;
But the good which thou hast done,
Shall be deathless as the sun.
Though neglected, gray, and grassy,
Still I pray that my decline
And as blest a calm as thine.
At length the long leave-taking is all o'er ;
Bid adieu to the homestead, adieu to the vale,
MARGARET MILLER DAVIDSON, 1823-1838.
MARGARET Miller Davidson, the sister of Lucretia,' and quite as remarkable for precocity of intellect, was born at Plattsburg, New York, on the 26th of March, 1823. Like her sister, she was of delicate and feeble frame from her infancy, and, like her, she had an early passion for knowledge. Her mother rather restrained than incited her; but, before she could even read well, she would talk in the language of poetry,-of "the pale, cold moon," of the stars “that shone like the eyes of angels," &c. At six years old, she was so far advanced in literature and intelligence as to be the companion of her mother when confined to her room by protracted illness. She read not only well, but elegantly: her love of reading amounted to a passion, and her intelligence surpassed belief. Strangers viewed with astonishment a child, not seven years old, reading with enthusiastic delight Thomson's “Seasons,” the “ Pleasures of Hope," Cowper's “ Task," and even Milton, and marking with taste and discrimination the passages that struck her. But the Bible was her daily study, over which she
See p. 600.
did not hurry as a task, but would spend an hour or two in commenting with her mother on the contents of the chapter she had read.
In 1833, when she was ten years old, she had a severe attack of scarlet fever, from which she recovered but slowly; and ber father, thinking that the climate and situation of Saratoga would benefit her, removed thither in that year. But she showed her love for the wilder scenes of her “ Native Lake" in the following sweet verses-remarkable for one so young—on the charms of
Thy verdant banks, thy lucid stream,
In 1834, she was again seized by illness,—a liver-complaint, which by sympathy affected her lungs, and confined her to her room for four months. On her recovery, her genius, which had seemed to lie dormant in sickness, broke forth with a brilliancy that astonished her friends; and she poured out, in rapid succession, some of her best pieces. But her health was evidently declining. The death of a beloved brother, in 1835, affected her deeply; and, with short and transient gleams of health amid dark and dismal prospects, this amiable and gifted child slept, as she herself trusted, in the arms of her Redeemer, on the 25th of November, 1838, aged fifteen years and eight months.'
"Read an article in the “ London Quarterly Review," by the poet Southey, vol. Ixix. p. 91. In commenting upon Washington Irving's charming Memoir of this wonderful child, the “ Democratic Review" for July, 1811, thus remarks: "This is a record, by one of the finest writers of the age, of one of the most remarkable prodigies that the poetical literature of any country has produced.”