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The Earliest Fire-Fly

by Thomas Hill

Fearless little pioneer,
Leader of thy race this year!
Tiny spark of wondrous light,
Wandering through the darksome night,
Strangely pleasant is the sight
Of thy vague, erratic flight.

Soon thy light will be but lost,
Mid thy fellows brilliant host,
When the meadow lands shall be
Gay with mimic galaxy.

Finches prophesy the spring,
Bobolinks its blossoms bring;
But thy race, with bolder cheer,
Say that summer now is here.
Now the wild grape fills the air
With a wealth of perfume rare;
Roses bloom beside the way,
Joy and fragrance fill the day;
Now the sunlight's lengthened hours
Ring with song and glow with flowers.
Leader of the glittering band,
Soon to follow thy command,
Welcome, then, thou tiny spark,
Seen against the woodland dark.

Who had taught thee, underground,
Ere thy wings thou yet hadst found;
Who had taught thee thus to soar,
Thus to flit the meadows o'er,
Ere as yet thy cheering flame
From its hiding places came?

Never yet another's light
Having met thy new-born sight,
How wilt thou the difference know
Twixt a mate's and rival's glow?
How distinguish, in the dark,
Either from a glow-worm's spark?
Wonderful the mystery—
What shall safely pilot thee,
With unerring thread of fate
To thine only rightful mate?

Wanderer! thus, unto my sight,
With more than stellar lustre bright I
Ah! how gladly would I share
Courage which can boldly dare
Thus to mount on untried wing;
Boldly thus thyself to fling,
Whither heart within thee leads,
Toward higher life and nobler deeds.

Thus thou op'nest to mine eye
Scenes above this star-paved sky.
He who guides thy feeble race,
Pours on man a richer grace.
Outward eye hath never seen
Canaan's fields of living green;
Outward senses hear no song
Sung the eternal choirs among;
But the Son of God inspires
In his saints, those warm desires,
And that strong, unconquered will
Which the heart with rapture fill.
When He calls, they soar away,
Freed from all this mortal clay,
Finding true the joyous word:
"Still together with the Lord."