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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 jest:

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 thoaght 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'm 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 him 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 holds dear.

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

"O God! thou hast blessed me; I ask for no more."

Ah! 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 thée,

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,

And 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 leaves, With a soft cheek upon the Julling 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 attitudes, 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 fled 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 thiekly 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 tones Grew tremulous. But, oh! for AbsalomFor bis estranged, misguided Absalom, The 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,

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Strong supplication, and forgave him there,
Before his God, for his deep sinfulness.
The pall was settled. He who slept beneath
Was straightened for the grave; and, as the folds
Sunk to the still proportions, they betrayed
The matchless symmetry of Absalom.
His hair was yet unshorn, and silken curls
Were floating round the tassels as they swayed
To the admitted air, as glossy now
As when, in hours of gentle dalliance, bathing
The snowy fingers of Judea's girls.
His helm was at his feet: his banner, soiled
With trailing through Jerusalem, was laid,
Reversed, beside him : and the jewelled hilt,
Whose diamonds lit the passage of his blade,
Rested, like mockery, on his covered brow.
The soldiers of the king trod to and fro,
Clad in the garb of battle ; and their chief,
The mighty Joab, stood beside the bier,
And gazed upon the dark pall steadfastly,
As if he feared the slumberer might stir.
A slow step startled him. He grasped his blade
As if a trumpet rang; but the bent form
Of David entered, and he gave command,
In a low tone, to his few followers,
And left him with his dead. The king stood still
Till the last echo died: then, throwing off
The sackcloth from his brow, and laying back
The pall from the still features of his child,
He bowed his head upon him, and broke forth
In the resistless eloquence of wo:-
“Alas ! my noble boy! that thou should'st die !

Thon, who wert made so beautifully fair!
That death should settle in thy glorious eye,

And leave his stillness in this clustering hair! How could he mark thee for the silent tomb,

My proud boy Absalom !

“Cold is thy brow, my son ! and I am chill,

As to my bosom I have tried to press thee. How was I wont to feel my pulses thrill,

Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress thee,

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