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And so the dreadful massacre began;

O'er fields and orchards, and o'er woodland crests, The ceaseless fusillade of terror ran,

Dead fell the birds, with blood-stains on their breasts, Or wounded crept away from sight of man,

While the young died of famine in their nests;
A slaughter to be told in groans, not words,
The very St. Bartholomew of Birds !
The Summer came, and all the birds were dead;

The days were like hot coals; the very ground
Was burned to ashes; in the orchards fed

Myriads of caterpillars, and around The cultivated fields and garden beds

Hosts of devouring insects crawled, and found No foe to check their march, till they had made The land a desert without leaf or shade. Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town,

Because, like Herod, it had ruthlessly Slaughtered the Innocents. From the trees spun down

The canker-worms upon the passers-by,
Upon each woman's bonnet, shawl, and gown,

Who shook them off with just a little cry;
They were the terror of each favourite walk,
The endless theme of all the village talk.
The farmers grew impatient, but a few

Confessed their error, and would not complain,
For after all, the best thing one can do

When it is raining, is to let it rain.
Then they repealed the law, although they knew

It would not call the dead to life again;
As school-boys, finding their mistake too late,
Draw a wet sponge across the accusing slate.
That year in Killingworth the Autumn came

Without the light of his majestic look,
The wonder of the falling tongues of flame,

The illumined pages of his Doom's-Day book.
A few lost leaves blushed crimson with their shame,

And drowned themselves despairing in the brook,
While the wild wind went moaning everywhere,
Lamenting the dead children of the air !
But the next Spring a stranger sight was seen,

A sight that never yet by bard was sung,
As great a wonder as it would have been

If some dumb animal had found a tongue! A wagon, overarched with evergreen,

Upon whose boughs were wicker cages hung, All full of singing birds, came down the street, Filling the air with music wild and sweet.

From all the country round these birds were brought,

By order of the town, with anxious quest,
And, loosened from their wicker prisons, sought

In woods and fields the places they loved best,
Singing loud canticles, which many thought

Were satires to the authorities addressed,
While others, listening in green lanes, averred
Such lovely music never had been heard !
But blither still and louder carolled they

Upon the morrow, for they seemed to know
It was the fair Almira's wedding-day,

And everywhere, around, above, below, When the Preceptor bore his bride away,

Their songs burst forth in joyous overflow, And a new heaven bent over a new earth Amid the sunny farms of Killingworth.


THE hour was late; the fire burned low,
The Landlord's eyes were closed in sleep,
And near the story's end a deep
Sonorous sound at times was heard,
As when the distant bagpipes blow.
At this all laughed; the Landlord stirred,
As one awaking from a swound,
And, gazing anxiously around,
Protested that he had not slept,
But only shut his eyes, and kept
His ears attentive to each word.
Then all arose, and said “Good Night."
Alone remained the drowsy Squire
To rake the embers of the fire,
And quench the waning parlour light;
While from the windows, here and there,
The scattered lamps a moment gleamed,
And the illumined hostel seemed
The constellation of the Bear,
Downward, athwart the misty air,
Sinking and setting toward the sun.
Far off the village clock struck one.

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THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. BETWEEN the dark and the daylight,

When the night is beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day's occupations,

That is known as the Children's Hour. I hear in the chamber above me

The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,

And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,

Descending the broad hall stair, Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,

And Edith with golden hair. A whisper, and then a silence:

Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together

To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway,

A sudden raid from the hall !
By three doors left unguarded

They enter my castle wall! They climb

up into my turret O'er the arms and back of my chair; If I try to escape they surround me;

They seem to be everywhere. They almost devour me with kisses,

Their arms about me entwine, Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen

In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!
Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,

Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old moustache as I am
Is not a match for


all !
I have you fast in my fortress,

And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon

In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,

Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,

And moulder in dust away!


UNDER Mount Etna he lies,

It is slumber, it is not death; For he struggles at times to arise, And above him the lurid skies

Are hot with his fiery breath.
The crags are piled on his breast,

The earth is heaped on his head;
But the groans of his wild unrest,
Though smothered and half suppressed,

Are heard, and he is not dead.
And the nations far away

Are watching with eager eyes; They talk together and say, “Tomorrow, perhaps to-day,

Enceladus will arise!”

And the old gods, the austere

Oppressors in their strength, Stand aghast and white with fear At the ominous sounds they hear,

And tremble, and mutter, “At length!” Ah me! for the land that is sown

With the harvest of despair!
Where the burning cinders, blown
From the lips of the overthrown

Enceladus, fill the air.
Where ashes are heaped in drifts

Over vineyard and field and town,
Whenever he starts and lifts
His head through the blackened rifts

Of the crags that keep him down.
See, see! the red light shines !

'Tis the glare of his awful eyes ! And the storm wind shouts through the pines Of Alps and of Apennines,

“Enceladus, arise!"


Ar anchor in Hampton Roads we lay,

On board of the Cumberland, sloop-of-war; And at times from the fortress across the bay

The alarum of drums swept past,

Or a bugle blast
From the camp on the shore.
Then far away to the south uprose

A little feather of snow-white smoke, And we knew that the iron ship of our foes

Was steadily steering its course

To try the force
Of our ribs of oak.

Down upon us heavily runs,

Silent and sullen, the floating fort; Then comes a puff of smoke from her guns,

And leaps the terrible death,

With fiery breath,
From each open port.
We are not idle, but send her straight

Defiance back in a full broadside!
As hail rebounds from a roof of slate,

Rebounds our heavier hail

From each iron scale Of the monster's hide. “Strike your flag!” the rebel cries,

In his arrogant old plantation strain. Never!” our gallant Morris replies;

“It is better to sink than to yield !”

And the whole air pealed
With the cheers of our men.
Then, like a kraken huge and black,

She crushed our ribs in her iron grasp!
Down went the Cumberland all a wrack,

With a sudden shudder of death,

And the cannon's breath
For her dying gasp.
Next morn, as the sun rose over the bay,

Still floated our flag at the mainmast lead. Lord, how beautiful was thy day!

Every waft of the air

Was a whisper of prayer,
Or a dirge for the dead.

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