The Forlorn Hope (Hall)/Poems/Wonders and Murmurs

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2042428The Forlorn Hope — Wonders and Murmurs1836Samuel Carter Hall


Strange that the wind should be left so free,
To play with a flower or tear a tree;
To rage or ramble where'er it will,
And, as it lists, to be fierce or still;
Above and around to breathe of life,
Or to mingle the earth and the sky in strife;
Gently to whisper with morning light,
Yet to growl like a fetter'd fiend ere night;
Or to love, and cherish, and bless to-day,
What to-morrow it ruthlessly rends away.

Strange that the sun should call into birth
All the fairest flowers, and fruits of earth,
Then bid them perish, and see them die,
While they cheer the heart and gladden the eye.
At morn—its child is the hope of spring,
At night—a shrivelled and loathsome thing;
To-day—there is joy-full life in its breath,
To-morrow—it shrinks to a useless death.
Strange does it seem that the sun should joy
To give life alone that it may destroy.

Strange that the ocean should come and go,
With its daily and nightly ebb and flow,
To bear on its placid breast at morn
The bark that ere night will be tempest-torn,
Or cherish it all the way it must roam,
To leave it a wreck within sight of home;
To smile as the mariner's toils are o'er.
Then wash the dead to his cottage door,
And gently ripple along the strand
To watch the widow behold him land.

But stranger than all, that man should die,
When his plans are formed and his hopes are high;
He walks forth a lord of the earth to-day,
And to-morrow beholds him a part of its clay:
He is born in sorrow and cradled in pain,
And from youth to age it is labour in vain.
And all that seventy years can show,
Is, that wealth is trouble, and wisdom woe;
That he treads a path of care and strife,
Who drinks of the poisoned cup of life!

Alas! if we murmur at things like these,
That reflection tells us are wise decrees,—
That the wind is not ever a gentle breath,
That the sun is often the bearer of death,
That the ocean waves are not always still,
And that life is chequered with good and ill;
If we know 'tis well such change should be,
What do we learn from the things we see?
That an erring and sinning child of dust
Should not wonder nor murmur, but hope and trust.