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“The sea was rough and stormy,

The tempest howled and wailed, And the sea-fog, like a ghost, Haunted that dreary coast,

But onward still I sailed.

Four days I steered to eastward,

Four days without a night:
Round in a fiery ring
Went the great sun, O King!

With red and lurid light.”

Here Alfred, King of the Saxons,

Ceased writing for a while; And raised his eyes from his book, With a strange and puzzled look,

And an incredulous smile.

But Othere, the old sea-captain,

He neither paused nor stirred,
Till the King listened, and then
Once more took


And wrote down every word.

And now the land,” said Othere,

“Bent south ward suddenly, And I followed the curving shore, And ever southward bore

Into a nameless sea.

“And there we hunted the walrus,

The narwhal, and the seal;
Ha ! 'twas a noble game!
And like the lightning's flame

Flew our harpoons of steel.

There were six of us altogether,

Norsemen of Helgoland;
In two days and no more
We killed of them threescore,

And dragged them to the strand !”

Here Alfred, the Truth-Teller,

Suddenly closed his book,
And lifted his blue eyes,
With doubt and strange surmise

Depicted in their look.

And Othere, the old sea-captain,

Stared at him wild and weird,
Then smiled, till his shining teeth
Gleamed white from underneath

His tawny, quivering beard.

And to the King of the Saxons,

In witness of the truth,
Raising his noble head,
He stretched his brown hand, and said,

Behold this walrus-tooth!"


Come to me, O ye children!

For I hear you at your play,
And the questions that perplexed me

Have vanished quite away.

Ye open the eastern windows,

That look towards the sun,
Where thoughts are singing swallows,

And the brooks of morning run.

In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,

In your thoughts the brooklet's flow, But in mine is the wind of Autumn,

And the first fall of the snow.

Ah! what would the world be to us,

If the children were no more?
We should dread the desert behind us

Worse than the dark before.

What the leaves are to the forest,

With light and air for food,
Ere their sweet and tender juices

Have been hardened into wood,

That to the world are children;

Through them it feels the glow Of a brighter and sunnier climate

Than reaches the trunks below.

Come to me,


And whisper in my ear
What the birds and the winds are singing

In your sunny atmosphere.

For what are all our contrivings,

And the wisdom of our books, When compared with your caresses,

And the gladness of your looks ?

Ye are better than all the ballads

That ever were sung or said; For ye are living poems,

And all the rest are dead.

Have you read in the Talmud of old,
In the Legends the Rabbins have told

Of the limitless realms of the air,-
Have you read it,-the marvellous story
Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Glory,

Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer?
How erect at the outermost gates
Of the City Celestial he waits,

With his feet on the ladder of light,
That, crowded with angels unnumbered,
By Jacob was seen, as he slumbered

Alone in the desert at night? The Angels of Wind and of Fire Chant only one hymn, and expire

With the song's irresistible stress; Expire in their rapture and wonder, As harp-strings are broken asunder

By music they throb to express. But serene in the rapturous throng, Unmoved by the rush of the song,

With eyes unimpassioned and slow, Among the dead angels, the deathless Sandalphon stands listening breathless

To sounds that ascend from below;From the spirits on earth that adore, From the souls that entreat and implore

In the fervour and passion of prayer; From the hearts that are broken with losses, And weary with dragging the crosses

Too heavy for mortals to bear.

And he gathers the prayers as he stands, And they change into flowers in his hands,

Into garlands of purple and red;
And beneath the great arch of the portal,
Through the streets of the City Immortal

Is wafted the fragrance they shed.
It is but a legend, I know,-
A fable, a phantom, a show,

Of the ancient Rabbinical lore;
Yet the old mediæval tradition,
The beautiful, strange superstition,

But haunts me and holds me the more. When I look from my window at night, And the welkin above is all white,

All throbbing and panting with stars,
Among them majestic is standing
Sandalphon the angel, expanding

His pinions in nebulous bars.
And the legend, I feel, is a part
Of the hunger and thirst of the heart,

The frenzy and fire of the brain,
That grasps at the fruitage forbidden,
The golden pomegranates of Eden,

To quiet its fever and pain.

HAVE I dreamed? or was it real,

What I saw as in a vision,
When to marches hymeneal
In the land of the Ideal

Moved my thought o'er Fields Elysian ?

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