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Poem by Bernard Barton


Human Life


I walk'd the fields at morning's prime,
The grass was ripe for mowing;
The skylark sang his matin chime,
And all was brightly glowing.

'And thus,' I cried, 'the ardent boy,
His pulse with rapture beating,
Deems life's inheritance is joy -
The future proudly greeting.'

I wander'd forth at noon: - Alas!
On earth's maternal bosom
The scythe had left the with'ring grass,
And stretch'd the fading blossom.

And thus, I thought with many a sigh,
The hopes we fondly cherish,
Like flowers which blossom but to die,
Seem only born to perish.

Once more, at eve, abroad I stray'd,
Through lonely hay-fields musing,
While every breeze that round me play'd
Rich fragrance was diffusing.

The perfumed air, the hush of eve,
To purer hopes appealing,
O'er thoughts perchance too prone to grieve,
Scatter'd the balm of healing.

For thus 'the actions of the just,'
When mem'ry hath enshrined them,
E'en from the dark and silent dust
Their odour leave behind them.



Bernard Barton


Bernard Barton's other poems:
  1. Leiston Abbey
  2. Verses on the Gateway Still Standing at Nettlestead, Suffolk
  3. Meditations
  4. Benhall
  5. Which Things are a Shadow


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Samuel Coleridge Human Life ("If dead, we cease to be; if total gloom")
  • Matthew Arnold Human Life ("What mortal, when he saw")

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