Page images
PDF
EPUB

But only time for Grief!
A little weeping would ease my heart ;

But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop

Hinders needle and thread !”

With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags

Plying her needle and thread
Stitch ! - stitch ! stitch !

In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,
Would that its song could reach the rich !
She

sang this “ Song of the Shirt.”

T. Hood

CLXXVIII.

LOOK ALOFT.

IN

the tempest of life, when the waves and the gale

Are around and above, if thy footing should fail, If thine eye should grow dim, and thy caution depart, “ Look aloft,” and be firm, and be fearless of heart.

If thy friend, who embraced in prosperity's glow,
With a smile for each joy, and a tear for each woe
Should betray thee when sorrows like clouds are arrayed,
“ Look aloft” to the friendship which never shall fade.

Should the visions which hope spreads in light to the eye
Like the tints of the rainbow, but brighten to fly,
Then turn, and, through tears of repentant regret,
“ Look aloft” to the sun that is never to set.

Should they who are dearest, the son of thy heart,
The wife of thy bosom, - in sorrow depart,
“ Look aloft," from the darkness and dust of the tomb,
To that soil where affection is ever to bloom.

And, oh! when Death comes in his terror to cast
His fears on the future, his pall on the past,
In that moment of darkness, with hope in thy heart,
And a smile in thine eye, “ look aloft,” - and depart.

J. Lawrence.

CLXXIX.

PRESS ON.
PRES

RESS on! there's no such word as fail !

Press nobly on! the goal is near,
Ascend the mountain ! breast the gale !
Look upward, onward,

never fear!
Why should'st thou faint ? Heaven smiles above,

Though storm and vapor intervene;
That sun shines on, whose name is Love,

Serenely o’er Life's shadowed scene.

Press on ! surmount the rocky steeps,

Climb boldly o'er the torrent's arch ;
He fails alone who feebly creeps ;

He wins who dares the hero's march.
Be thou a hero ! let thy might

Tramp on eternal snows its way,
And, through the ebon walls of night

Hew down a passage unto day.

Press on ! if once and twice thy feet

Slip back and stumble, harder try;
From him who never dreads to meet

Danger and death, they're sure to fly.
To coward ranks the bullet speeds,

While on their breasts, who never quail,
Gleams, guardian of chivalric deeds,

Bright courage, like a coat of mail.

Press on ! if Fortune play thee false

To-day, to-morrow she 'll be true;
Whom now she sinks, she now exalts,

Taking old gifts, and granting new

The wisdom of the present hour
Makes

up

for follies past and gone , To weakness strength succeeds, and

power From frailty springs, - press on! press on!

Press bravely on ! and reach the goal,

And gain the prize, and wear the crown; Faint not! for to the steadfast soul

Come wealth, and honor, and renown. To thine own self be true, and keep

Thy mind from sloth, thy heart from soil ; Press on ! and thou shalt surely reap

A heavenly harvest for thy toil. P. Benjamin

CLXXX.

KINDNESS.

THE
THE blessings which the weak and poor can scatter

Have their own season. 'Tis a little thing
To give a cup of water; yet its draught
Of cool refreshment, drained by fevered lips,
May give a shock of pleasure to the frame
More exquisite than when nectarean juice
Renews the life of joy in happiest hours.
It is a lit'le thing to speak a phrase
Of common comfort which by daily use
Has almost lost its sense ; yet on the ear
Of him who thought to die unmourned 't will fall
Like choicest music; fill the glazing eye
With gentle tears ; relax the knotted hand
To know the bonds of fellowship again ;
And shed on the departing soul a sense
More precious than the benison of friends
About the honored death-bed of the rich,
To him who else were lonely, that another
Of the great family is near and feels.

Sergeant Talfourch

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

You come back from sea
And not know my John ?
I might as well have asked some landsman
Yonder down in the town.
There's not an ass in all the parish
But he knows my John.

How's my boy – my boy?
And unless you let me know
I'll swear you are no sailor,
Blue jacket or no,
Brass button or no, sailor,
Anchor or crown or no!
Sure his ship was the Jolly Briton
Speak low, woman, speak low ! ”

And why should I speak low, sailor ?
About my own boy John ?
If I was loud as I am proud
I'd sing him over the town!
Why should I speak low, sailor? -
“ That good ship went down.”

my boy?

How's my boy
What care I for the ship, sailor,
I never was aboard her.

Be she afloat, or be she aground,
Sinking or swimming, I'll be bound,
Her owners can afford her!
I
say,
how's

ту

John ? —
“ Every man on board went down,
Every man aboard her.”

How 's my boy — my boy?
What care I for the men, sailor?
I'm not their mother -
How's my boy - my boy?
Tell me of him and no other !
How's my boy — my boy ?

8. Dobell

CLXXXII.

EXCELSIOR.

THE
THE shades of night were falling fast,

As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,

“ Excelsior!”

His brow was sad; his

eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath ;
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

“ Excelsior !”

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright:
Above, the spectral glaciers shone;
And from his lips escaped a groan,

“ Excelsior!”

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »