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THE CHILD AND THE STARS.

“They tell me, dear father, each gem in the sky

That sparkles at night is a star ;
But why do they dwell in those regions so high,

And shed their cold lustre so far?
I know that the sun makes the blossoms to spring,

That it gives to the flow'rets their birth,
But what are the stars? do they nothing but fling

Their cold rays of light upon earth?”—

“My child, it is said that yon stars in the sky

Are worlds that are fashioned like this, Where the souls of the good and the gentle, who die,

Assemble together in bliss ; And the rays that they shed o'er the earth is the light · Of His glory whose throne is above, That tell us, who dwell in these regions of night,

How great is His goodness and love.”—

“Then, father, why still press your hand to your brow,

Why still are your cheeks pale with care ? If all that was gentle be dwelling there now,

Dear mother, I know, must be there." — “Thou chidest me well,” said the father with pain ;

“ Thy wisdom is greater by far : We may mourn for the lost, but we should not complain While we gaze on each beautiful star.”

J. E. CARPENTER.

THE PEBBLE AND THE ACORN.

“I AM a Pebble, and yield to none !" Were the swelling words of a tiny stone; “Nor change nor season can alter me, -I am abiding while ages fee. The pelting hail and drizzling iai Haye tried to soften me long in vain;

And the tender dew has sought to melt,
Or to touch my heart,—but it was not felt.

“None can tell of the Pebble's birth;
For I am as old as the solid earth!
The children of men arise, and pass
Out of the world like blades of grass ;
And many a foot on me has trod
That's gone from sight and under the sod!
I am a Pebble! but who art thou,
Rattling along from the restless bough ?”

The Acorn was shocked at this rude salute,
And lay for a moment abashed and mute;
She never before had been so near
This gravelly ball, the mundane sphere ;
And she felt for a while perplexed to know
How to answer a thing so low.

But to give reproof of a nobler sort
Than the angry look or the keen retort,
At length she said, in a gentle tone,
“Since it has happened that I am thrown
From the lighter element, where I grew,
Down to another so hard and new,
And beside a personage so august,
Abased I will cover my head with dust,
And quickly retire from the sight of one
Whom time nor season, nor storm nor sun,
Nor the gentler dew nor the grinding wheel,
Has ever subdued or made to feel.”

And soon in the earth she sunk away From the comfortless spot where the Pebble lay; But it was not long ere the soil was broke By the peering head of an infant oak; And as it arose, and its branches spread, The Pebble looked up, and, wondering, said,

“Ah, modest Acorn! never to tell What was enclosed in her simple shell

That the pride of the forest was then shut up
Within the space of her little cup!
And meekly to sink in the darksome earth,
To prove that nothing could hide her worth.
And, oh! how many will tread on me,
To come and admire that beautiful tree,
Whose head is towering towards the sky,
Above such a worthless thing as I.

“Useless and vain, a cumberer here,
I have been idling from year to year ;
But never from this shall a vaunting word
From the humble Pebble again be heard,
Till something without me, or within,
Can show the purpose for which I've been !"
The Pebble could not its vow forget,
And it lies there wrapped in silence yet.

Miss H. F. Gould.

THE PET LAMB.

The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink;
I heard a voice ; it said, “Drink, pretty creature, drink !"
And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied
A snow-white mountain lamb with a maiden at its side.
No other sheep were near, the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone :
With one knee on the grass did the little maiden kneel,
While to that mountain lamb she gave its evening meal.
The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper took,
Seemed to feast with head and ears; and his tail with

pleasure shook. "Drink, pretty creature, drink,” she said in such a tone That I almost received her heart into my own. 'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare! I watched them with delight, they were a lovely pair. Now with her empty can the maiden turned away ; But ere ten yards were gone her footsteps did she stay.

Towards the lamb she looked; and from that shady place
I unobserved could see the workings of her face :
If Nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring,
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might sing :-

“What ails thee, young one? What? Why pull so at thy

cord ? Is it not well with thee? Well both for bed and board? Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ; Rest, little young one, rest; what is't that aileth thee ?

What is it thou wouldst seek? What is wanting to thy

heart? Thy limbs, are they not strong? And beautiful thou art: This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have no peers; And that green corn all day is rustling in thy ears !

If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen chain,
This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain;
Fur rain and mountain storms! the like thou need'st not

fearThe rain and storm are things which scarcely can come

· here.

Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the day
When my father found thee first in places far away :
Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned by

none;
And thy mother from thy side for evermore was gone.

He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee home: A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou roamı ? A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee yean Upon the mountain-tops no kinder could have been.

Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in this

can

Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran ;

And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with dew, I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is and new.

Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are now ; Then I'll yoke thee to my cart, like a pony in the plough: My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind is cold Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.

It will not, will not rest !--poor creature, can it be
That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in thee?
Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear,
And dreams of things which thou canst neither see nor

hear.

Alas, the mountain-tops, that look so green and fair !
I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come there :
The little brooks that seem all pastime and all play,
When they are angry, roar like lions for their prey.

Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the sky;
Night and day thou art safe,-our cottage is hard by.
Why bleat so after me? Why pull so at thy chain ?
Sleep,-and at break of day I will come to thee again !”

-As homeward through the lane I went with lazy feet,
This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat;
And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line,
That but half of it was hers, and one-half of it was mine.

Again, and once again, did I repeat the song : “Nay,” said I, “more than half to the damsel must belong; For she looked with such a look, and she spake with such

a tone, That I almost received her heart into my own.”

WORDSVORTH.

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