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A Lay Of Old Time - Poem by John Greenleaf Whittier (John Greenleaf Whittier)

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One morning of the first sad Fall, Poor Adam and his bride Sat in the shade of Eden's wall-- But on the outer side. She, blushing in her fig-leaf suit For the chaste garb of old; He, sighing o'er his bitter fruit For Eden's drupes of gold. Behind them, smiling in the morn, Their forfeit garden lay, Before them, wild with rock and thorn, The desert stretched away. They heard the air above them fanned, A light step on the sward, And lo! they saw before them stand The angel of the Lord! 'Arise,' he said, 'why look behind, When hope is all before, And patient hand and willing mind, Your loss may yet restore? 'I leave with you a spell whose power Can make the desert glad, And call around you fruit and flower As fair as Eden had. 'I clothe your hands with power to lift The curse from off your soil; Your very doom shall seem a gift, Your loss a gain through Toil. 'Go, cheerful as yon humming-bees, To labor as to play.' White glimmering over Eden's trees The angel passed away. The pilgrims of the world went forth Obedient to the word, And found where'er they tilled the earth A garden of the Lord! The thorn-tree cast its evil fruit And blushed with plum and pear, And seeded grass and trodden root Grew sweet beneath their care. We share our primal parents' fate, And, in our turn and day, Look back on Eden's sworded gate As sad and lost as they. But still for us his native skies The pitying Angel leaves, And leads through Toil to Paradise New Adams and new Eves! John Greenleaf Whittier

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