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HOME-THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD.

ROBERT BROWNING was born in Camberwell, England, May 7, 1812. He attended lectures at University College. At the age of nineteen he began the writing of verse. His poems are many and various, several of them being dramatic in form. It has been said that he is “distinguished for the depth of his spiritual insight, his dramatic energy, and power of psycholog. ical analysis.” By a considerable number of thoughtful readers he is regarded as the greatest poet of modern times.

He died at Venice, Dec. 12, 1889.

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Oh, to be in England now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bow
In England — now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows :
Hark, where my blossomed pear tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops — at the bent spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush ; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And, though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

ROBERT BROWNING.

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INCIDENT OF THE FRENCH CAMP.

I.

You know, we French stormed Ratisbon :

A mile or so away
On a little mound, Napoleon

Stood on our storming day;
With neck outthrust, you fancy how,

Legs wide, arms locked behind,
As if to balance the prone brow

Oppressive with its mind.

II.

Just as perhaps he mused, “My plans

That soar, to earth may fall,
Let once my army-leader Lannes

Waver at yonder wall ” —
Out 'twixt the battery smokes there flew

A rider, bound on bound
Full-galloping ; nor bridle drew

Until he reached the mound.

III.

Then off there flung in smiling joy,

And held himself erect
By just his horse's mane, a boy :

You hardly could suspect —
(So tight he kept his lips compressed,

Scarce any blood came through)
You looked twice ere you saw his breast

Was all but shot in two.

IV.

“Well,” cried he, “Emperor, by God's grace,

We've got you Ratisbon!
The Marshal's in the market-place,

And you'll be there anon
To see your flag-bird flap his vans

Where I, to heart's desire,
Perched him!” The chief's eye flashed; his plans

Soared up again like fire.

V.

The chief's eye flashed; but presently

Softened itself, as sheathes A film the mother-eagle's eye

When her bruised eaglet breathes. “ You’re wounded !” “Nay," the soldier's pride

Touched to the quick, he said: " I'm killed, Sire!” And his chief beside, Smiling, the boy fell dead.

ROBERT BROWNING. THE TWENTY-SECOND OF FEBRUARY.

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT was born at Cummington, Massachusetts, Nov. 3, 1794. There his earlier years were passed, amid the delights of lovely scenery and under the influences of a refined home. His literary work began while he was yet a boy. “Thanatopsis” was written when he was eighteen years of age. It has become an American classic. The young inan studied for the profession of law, but literary pursuits proved more attractive. In 1826 he became assistant editor of the New York Evening Post, and in 1829 its editor in chief. But he

is best known by his poetical writings. These are characterized by melody, purity, and high ethical tone. They show profound love of Nature, and accurate observation of her varying moods. In his later years he made admirable translations of the poems of Homer. He died in the city of New York, June 12, 1878. The present selection is used by courtesy of D. Appleton and Company.

Pale is the February sky,

And brief the midday's sunny hours ;
The wind-swept forest seems to sigh

For the sweet time of leaves and flowers.

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Yet has no month a prouder day,

Not even when the summer broods
O'er mcadows in their fresh array,

Or autumn tints the glowing woods.

For this chill season now again

Brings, in its annual round, the morn
When, greatest of the sons of men,

Our glorious Washington was born.

Lo, where, beneath an icy shield,

Calmly the mighty Hudson flows !
By snow-clad fell and frozen field,

Broadening, the lordly river goes.

The wildest storm that sweeps through space,

And rends the oak with sudden force,
Can raise no ripple on his face,

Or slacken his majestic course.

Thus, ’mid the wreck of thrones, shall live

Unmarred, undimmed, our hero's fame,
And years succeeding years shall give

Increase of honors to his name.

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.

When to the common rest that crowns our days,
Called in the noon of life, the good man goes,
Or, full of years and ripe in wisdom, lays
His silver temples in their last repose ;
When o'er the buds of youth the death-wind blows,
And blights the fairest; when our bitter tears
Stream, as the eyes of those that love us close,
We think on what they were, with many fears
Lest goodness die with them, and leave the coming years.

BRYANT.

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