O THE CLOSE OF LIFE. BY DOW JR.

TKXT. Time and sorrow long have blasted Every youthful, pleasing dream ; Quivering age, with youth contrasted, O, how short our glories seem ! As the annual frosts are cropping Leaves and tendrils from the trees, So our friends are yearly dropping Through old age or dire disease. GRIDLET. MY FRIE DS! life is sweet till it grows sour; but its saccharine dura tion is but for a moment, as it were. A few drops of grief, sorrow, pain and other acids, cause it to bonnyclabber quicker than buttermilk in dog-days ; and there is so little of, it, too not hardly enough to pay for the trouble of being born. Like the Colossus that straddled Rhodes, Infancy stands with one foot in the cradle, and the other in the grave. At any rate, no matter what the real distance is to the last link of life's chain, it seems only a step after we have discovered it. For myself, I have floated down the stream of existence nearly to its farthest extremi ty : over the calm pelucid surface of youth the rough breakers of manhood and am now fast paddling my way through the muddy wa ters of age. The banks on either side wear a pale, autumnal aspect my sun is fast declining, and were it not for that eternal star of hope which silvers the dark wave of death, my little cargo of enjoyment would all have been pitched overboard long before this. As it is, I can't tell how much longer my provisions will hold out ; and, in fact, 1 don't much care how soon I come to the last crumb ; for life isn't to me now what it ' used to was :' it has lost all the flavor it ever had, and that lasted about as long as the smoke of a hot pudding. The cup of pleasure seems to have been snatched from my lips, even before I got a

SHORT PATE T SERMO S. . 55 fair suck at it. These hoar frosts, which you now see settling ou my

cranium, once came gently down in delightful dews ; but they have congealed, you see, and all my top-grass is withering, to flourish no more till a new crop starts up at the opening of an eternal spring. Every youthful, pleasing dream has vanished all my stock of former delights have been pilfered by the thieving fingers of time, and I am now left a poor old pensioner upon the charities of a merciful provi dence. Heaven forbid that I should utter a syllable of complaint, but I can't help saying it confidentially, and before man alone, that life is all moonshine ^a monstrous humbug a grand suck-in. My young friends, you needn't smile at the remark. There is more truth than doggerel in it ; and you will find it out when you have shed your last green leaves, as I have mine, and are not quite so full of sap and sweet cider as you now are. But you may be cut off while the first buds of pleasure are blossoming ere the embryo of discontent has formed itself in the germ of the heart : but should you happen to steer your carnal vessels safely into the frigid zone of longevity, you will then look back and see that life's short voyage has been both a tedious and a perilous one. There all the tender sympathies of the breast will be forever ice-bound in their polar regions Memory's chart will present a dreary waste the glassspun threads of Fancy will snap in the hoar frosts of age Imagination, like a sick turkey, will have to squat twice before taking wing, and then not succeed in flight Reason's compass will vary the gay bird of Joy will shed its rich plumage and die and no splendor will attend you there, save when the borealis of hope and faith shall light up the dusky porch of heaven. But, I repeat, my friends you are not sure of living for any decent length of time : nay, to-morrow you may be cold tallow, done up in a rag, and laid aside. Even you, little babes you improved specimens of domestic manufacture ! you two-quart jugs of milk ! you may spring a leak in less than a week, and let life's contents soak into the earth. And you older ones ! the hoops may fly off from your pork barrels be fore you know it, allowing all the vital brine to escape, and leave you tainting in the mouldy sepulchre. Time, that old man-mower by pro fession, is in the midst of us all, whetting his scythe for the next fatal stroke. I know not the victim soon destined to fall before his keenedged bushwhacker, or I would point him out : perhaps it is myself, for 1 have gone to seed and am ripe for the harvest ; but certain it is, that some one must shortly go for on every side we continually behold, in the great family of mankind, members falling in the dust to rise no

more.

56 SHORT PATE T SERMO S. Oh ! it is a melancholy sight to see so many of our friends annually dropping, like leaves and tendrils from the trees, to be trod upon by un hallowed feet, and have the plough of posterity intermingle their sacred ashes with the vile earth that nourishes turnips, potatoes and onions ! It is mournful to reflect on the frailty of human existence, and sadder still to think that the beautiful material of mortals should thus be cast to the four winds of heaven, or left to rot and enrich the soil from whence they sprang and gained their subsistence. But, my friends, we have this consolation : that while we let drop a tear upon the dust of former friendship, we can say in the assurance of heavenly hope This is not the end of man. So mote it be !

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