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All save the dear old friendship, and that shall grow older and dearer!”
Great was the people's amazement, and greater yet their rejoicing,
Meanwhile the bridegroom went forth and stood with the bride at the doorway,
Soon was their vision disturbed by the noise and stir of departure,
Onward the bridal procession now moved to their new habitation,
BIRDS OF PASSAGE.
COME I GRU VAN CANTANDO LOR LAI, FACENDO IN AER DI SE LUNGA RIGA.-Dante.
THE ROPE-WALK, In that building long and low, With its windows all a row,
Like the port-holes of a hulk, Human spiders spin and spin, Backward down their threads so thin,
Dropping, each, a hempen bulk.
Light the long and dusky lane;
All its spokes are in my brain.
Gleam the long threads in the sun; While within this brain of mine Cobwebs brighter and more fine
By the busy wheel are spun. Two fair maidens in a swing, Like white doves upon the wing,
First before my vision pass; Laughing, as their gentle hands Closely clasp the twisted strands,
At their shadow on the grass. Then a booth of mountebanks, With its smell of tan and planks,
And a girl poised high in air On a cord, in spangled dress, With a faded loveliness,
And a weary look of care.
Drawing water from a well;
As at some magician's spell.
While the rope coils round and round, Like a serpent, at his feet, And again in swift retreat
Almosts lifts him from the ground.
Then within a prison-yard,
Laughter and indecent mirth;
Blow, and sweep it from the earth! Then a schoolboy, with his kite, Gleaming in a sky of light,
And an eager, upward look ; Steeds pur ued through lane and field; Fowlers with their snares concealed,
And an angler by a brook. Ships rejoicing in the breeze, Wrecks that float o'er unknown seas, Anchors dragged through faithless
sand; Sea-fog drifting overhead, And with lessening line and lead
Sailors feeling for the land. All these scenes do I behold, These and many left untold,
In that building long and low; While the wheels go round and round With a drowsy, dreamy sound,
And the spinners backward go.
THE WARDEN OF THE CINQUE
PORTS. A MIST was driving down the British
Channel, The day was just begun, And through the window-panes, on floor
and panel, Streamed the red autumn sun. It glanced on flowing flag and rippling
pennon, And the white sails of ships; And, from the frowning rampart, the
black cannon Hailed it with feverish lips. Sandwich and Romney, Hastings
Hythe and Dover,
To see the French war-steamers speed
ing over, When the fog cleared away. Sullen and silent, and like couchant
lions, Their cannon through the night, Holding their breath, had watched in
grim defiance The sea-coast opposite. And now they roared at drum-beat from
their stations On every citadel; Each answering each with morning
salutations That all was well. And down the coast, all taking up the
embrasure Awaken with their call.
Nomore surveying with an eye impartial
The long line of the coast,
But smote the Warden hoar;
waited, The sun rose bright o'erhead; Nothing in Nature's aspect intimated
That a great man was dead!
THE TWO ANGELS.*
Passed o'er the village as the morning broke;
The sombre houses capped with plumes of smoke.
Alike their features and their robes of white;
And one with asphodels, like flakes of light.
Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppressed,
The place where thy beloved are at rest!
Descending at my door, began to knock;
The waters sink before an earthquake's shock.
And now returned with threefold strength again. * Inspired by the birth of a child to the writer, and the death of Mrs. Maria Lowell, the wife of another American poet, on the same day, at Cambridge, U.S.
The door I opened to my heavenly guest,
And listened, for I thought I heard God's voice;
Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice.
On his celestial embassy he sped.
The angel with the amaranthine wreath,
Whispered a word, that had a sound like Death.
A shadow on those features fair and thin:
Two angels issued, where but one went in.
The mists collect, the rains fall thick and loud;
Lo! He looks back from the departing cloud.
Without His leave they pass no threshold o'er;
Against His messengers to shut the door?
On Olympus' shining bastions
Full of promptings and suggestions.
Of the fire of the Immortals ! First the deed of noble daring,
Born of heavenward aspiration, Then the fire with mortals sharing, Then the vulture,-the despairing
Cry of pain on crags Caucasian.
Of the Poet, Prophet, Seer;
Making nations nobler, freer.
In their triumph and their yearning,
In their passionate pulsations,
The Promethean fire is burning.
All this toil for human culture ? Through the cloud-rack, dark and
trailing, Must they see above them sailing
O’er life's barren crags the vulture? Such a fate as this was Dante's,
By defeat and exile maddened ; Thus were Milton and Cervantes, Nature's priests and Corybantes,
By affliction touched and saddened. But the glories so transcendent
That around their memories cluster, And, on all their steps attendant, Make their darkened lives resplendent
With such gleams of inward lustre ! All the melodies mysterious, Through the dreary
darkness chaunted; Thoughts in attitudes imperious, Voices soft, and deep, and serious, Words that whispered, songs that
All the soul in rapt suspension,
All the quivering, palpitating Chords of life in utmost tension, With the fervour of invention,
With the rapture of creating!
In such hours of exultation
Round the cloudy crags Caucasian ! Though to all there is not given
Strength for such sublime endeavour, Thus to scale the walls of heaven, And to leaven with fiery leaven
All the hearts of men for ever; Yet all bards, whose hearts unblighted
Honour and believe the presage, Hold aloft their torches lighted, Gleaming through the realms benighted,
As they onward bear the message!
All these must first be trampled down
Beneath our feet, if we would gain
The right of eminent domain.
But we have feet to scale and climb, By slow degrees, by more and more,
The cloudy summits of our time. The mighty pyramids of stone That wedge-like cleave the desert
airs, When nearer seen and better known,
Are but gigantic flights of stairs. The distant mountains, that uprear
Their solid bastions to the skies, Are crossed by pathways, that appear
As we to higher levels rise. The heights by great men reached and
kept Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night. Standing on what too long we bore With shoulders bent and downcast
eyes, We may discern-unseen before
A path to higher destinies.
As wholly wasted, wholly vain,
THE LADDER OF ST. AUGUS
TINE. Saint AUGUSTINE! well hast thou said,
That of our vices we can frame A ladder, * if we will but tread Beneath feet each deed of
shame! All common things, each day's events,
That with the hour begin and end, Our pleasures and our discontents,
Are rounds by which we may ascend. The low desire, the base design,
That makes another's virtues less; The revel of the treacherous wine,
And all occasions of excess; The longing for ignoble things; The strife for triumph more than
truth; The hardening of the heart, that brings
Irreverence for the dreams of youth; All thoughts of ill; all evil deeds,
That have their root in thoughts of ill; Whatever hinders or impedes
The action of the noble will ;
* The words of St. Augustine are, “De vitiis nostris scalam nobis facimus, si vitia ipsa calcamus."-SERMON III. De Ascensione.
THE PHANTOM SHIP.*
Of the old colonial time,
* A detailed account of this “ apparition of a Ship in the Air” is given by Cotton Mather in his MagnaliaChristi, Book I. Ch. VI. It is contained in a letter from the Rev. James Pierpont, Pastor of New Haven. To this account Mather adds these words:
“Reader, there being yet living so many credible gentlemen that were eye-witnesses of this wonderful thing, I'venture to publish it for a thing as undoubted as 'tis wonderful.”