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This great affection to believe, Which all confess, but few perceive, If old assertions can't prevail

, Be pleased to hear a modern tale.

When sports went round, and all were gay
On neighbour Dobson's wedding-day,
Death called aside the jóc’und groom
With him into another room;
And, looking grave, “You must,” says he,
“Quit your sweet bride, and come with me.'

“With you! and quit my Susan's side !
With you!" the hapless husband cried;
“Young as I am ? 'tis monstrous hard !
Besides, in truth, I'm not prepared.
My thoughts on other matters go,
This is my wedding-night, you know."

What more he urged I have not heard : His reasons could not well be stronger :

So Death the poor delinquent spared,
And left to live a little longer.

Yet, calling up a serious look -
His hour-glass trembled while he spoke,
“Neighbour,” he said, “farewell! no more
Shall Death disturb vour mirthful hour :
And farther, to avoid all blame
Of cruelty upon my name,
To give you time for preparation,
And fit you for your future station,
Three several warnings you shall have,
Before you're summoned to the grave.
Willing, for once, I'll quit my prey,

And grant a kind reprieve,
In hopes you'll have no more to say,
But, when I call again this way,

Well pleased, the world will leave."
To these conditions both consented,
And parted, perfectly contented.

What next the hero of our tale befell, How long he lived, how wisely,—and how well It pleased him, in his prosperous course, To smoke his pipe, and pat his horse,

The willing muse shall tell:

He chaffered then, he bought, he sold,
Nor once perceived his growing old,

Nor thought of Death as near;
His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
Many his gains, his children few,

He passed his hours in peace.
But, while he viewed his wealth increase,
While thus along life's dusty road
The beaten track content he trod,
Old Time, whose haste no mortal spares
Uncalled, unheeded, unawares,

Brought on his eightieth year.

And now, one night, in musing mood,
As all alone he sate,
The unwelcome messenger of fate

Once more before him stood.

Half killed with anger and surprise, " So soon returned !" old Dobson cries,

“So soon, d'ye call it ?" Death replies : “Surely, my friend, you're but in jěst:

Since I was here before 'Tis six-and-thirty years at least,

And you are now fourscore.” “So much the worse !" the clown rejoined : “To spare the aged would be kind : Besides, you promised me three warnings, Which I have looked for nights and mornings."

“I know," cries Death, “that, at the best,
I seldom am a welcome guest;
But don't be captious, friend, at least:
I little thought you'd still be able
To stump about your farm and stable :
Your years have run to a great length:
I wish you joy, though, of your strength."

Hold !” says the farmer, “not so fast:
I have been lame these four years past."

“And no great wonder," Death replies: “However, you still keep your eyes; And sure, to see one's loves and friends, For legs and arms would make amends." "Perhaps," says Dobson, "so it might; But latterly I've lost my sight.”

“This is a shocking story, faith ;
Yet there's some comfort, still,” says Death:
“Each strives your sadness to amuse :
I warrant you hear all the news.”'

“ There's none,” cries he; "and, if there were
I'in grown so deaf I could not hear.”
“Nay, then,” the spectre stern rejoined,

These are unreasonable yearnings:
If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,
You've had

your

three sufficient warnings :
So come along; no more we'll part."
He said, and touched hiin with his dart:
And now old Dobson, turning pale,
Yields to his fate-

my

tale.

-so ends

LESSON CXLII.

The Mariner's Dream.--DIMOND.

In slumbers of midnight the sailor boy lay,

His hammock swung loose at the sport of the wind But, watch-worn and weary, his cares flew away,

And visions of happiness danced o'er his mind. He dreamed of his home, of his dear native bowers,

And pleasures that waited on life's merry morn; While

memory each scene gayly covered with flowers, And restored every rose, but secreted its thorn. Then fancy her magical pinions spread wide,

And bade the young dreamer in ecstasy rise ;Now far, far behind him, the green waters glide,

And the cot of his forefathers blesses his eyes. The jessamine clambers in flower o'er the thatch,

And the swallow chirps sweet from her nest in the wall All trembling with transport, he raises the latch,

And the voices of loved ones reply to his call. A father bends o'er him with looks of delight;

His cheek is impearled with a mother's warm tear; And the lips of the boy in a love-kiss unite

With the lips of the maid whom his bosom holde dean

The heart of the sleeper beats high in his breast,

Joy quickens his pulses, his hardships seem o'er; And a murmur of happiness steals through his rest

“() God! thou hast blest me; I ask for no more."

Ahl whence is that flame which now bursts on his eye?

Ah! what is that sound which now larums his ear? Tis the lightning's red glare, painting hell on the sky! 'Tis the

crashing of thunders, the groan of the sphere !

He springs from his hammock-he flies to the deck

Amazement confronts him with images dire-
Wild winds and mad waves drive the vessel a wreck

The masts fly in splinters—the shrouds are on fire!

Like mountains the billows tremendously swell :

In vain the lost wretch calls on mercy to save ; Unseen hands of spirits are ringing his knell,

And the death-angel flaps his broad wing o'er the wave.

O sailor boy! wo to thy dream of delight!

In darkness dissolves the gay frost-work of bliss. Where now is the picture that fancy touched bright,

Thy parents' fond pressure, and love's honied kiss ? O sailor boy ! sailor boy ! never again

Shall home, love, or kindred, thy wishes repay; Unblessed, and unhonoured, down deep in the main

Full many a score fathom, thy frame shall decay.

No tomb shall e'er plead to remembrance for thee,

Or redeem form or fame from the merciless surge ; But the white foam of waves shall thy winding-sheet be,

And winds, in the midnight of winter, thy dirge!

On a bed of green sea-flower thy limbs shall be laid ,

Around thy white bones the red coral shall grow; Of thy fair yellow locks threads of amber be made,

And every part suit to thy mansion below.

Days, months, years, and ages, shall circle away,

Ånd still the vast waters above thee shall roll; Earth loses thy pattern for ever and aye:

O sailor boy! sailor boy! peace to thy soul !

LESSON CXLIII.

Absalom.-- WILLIS.

The waters slept. Night's silvery veil hung low On Jordan's bosom, and the eddies curled Their glassy rings beneath it, like the still, Unbroken beating of the sleeper's pulse. The reeds bent down the stream: the willow learns, With a soft cheek upon the lulling tide, Forgot the lifting winds; and the long stems, Whose flowers the water, like a gentle nurse, Bears on its bosom, quietly gave way, And leaned, in graceful altitudes, to rest. How strikingly the course of nature tells, By its light heed of human suffering, That it was fashioned for a happier world!

King David's limbs were weary. He had filed From far Jerusalem ; and now he stood, With his faint people, for a little rest Upon the shore of Jordan. The light wind Of morn was stirring, and he bared his brow To its refreshing breath; for he had worn The mourner's covering, and he had not felt That he could see his people until now. They gathered round him on the fresh green bank And spoke their kindly words; and, as the sun Rose up in heaven, he knelt among them there, And bowed his head upon his hands to pray. Oh! when the heart is full—when bitter thoughts Come crowding thickly up for utterance, And the poor common words of courtesy* Are such a very mockery-how much The bursting heart may pour itself in prayer! He prayed for Israel; and his voice went up Strongly and fervently. He prayed for those Whose love had been his shield; and his deep toner Grew tremulous. But, oh! for AbsalomFor his estranged, misguided AbsalomThe proud, bright being, who had burst away, In all his princely beauty, to defy The heart that cherished him

for him he poured, In agony that would not be controlled,

* Pron. curt-e-sy.

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