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ABOU BEN ADHEM.

77

Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every labour sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze;
While his loved partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board;
And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.

Thus every good his native wilds impart,
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
And ev'n those hills that round his mansion rise,
Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies.
Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,
And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms;
And, as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
Clings close and closer to the mother's breast,
So the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar
But bind him to his native mountains more.

Goldsmith.

ABOU BEN ADHEM.

ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase !)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold :-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou ?”—The Vision rais’d its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answer’d, “ The names of those who love the Lord."
" And is mine one?” said Abou. “ Nay, not so,"
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,

78

TO THE CUCKOO.

But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."

The Angel wrote and vanish'd. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And show'd the names whom love of God had bless'd,
And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Leigh Hunt.

TO THE CUCKOO.

O BLITHE new comer! I have heard,

I hear thee and rejoice:
O Cuckoo ! shall I call thee bird,

Or but a wandering voice ?

While I am lying on the grass,

Thy loud note smites my ear !
From hill to hill it seems to pass,

At once far off and near !

I hear thee babbling to the vale

Of sunshine and of flowers;
And unto me thou bring'st a tale

Of visionary hours.
Thrice welcome, darling of the spring!

Even yet thou art to me
No bird, but an invisible thing,

A voice, a mystery.

The same whom in my schoolboy days
I listen'd to; that

cry
Which made me look a thousand

ways
In bush, and tree, and sky.

THE TWO ANGELS.

79

To seek thee did I often rove

Through woods and on the green;
And thou wert still a hope, a love;

Still long'd for, never seen!
And I can listen to thee yet;

Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget

That golden time again.
O blessed bird! the earth we pace

Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, fairy place;
That is fit home for thee !

Wordsworth.

THE TWO ANGELS.

Two angels, one of Life and of Death,

Pass'd o'er the village as the morning broke; The dawn was on their faces, and beneath,

The sombre houses hearsed with plumes of smoke. Their attitude and aspect were the same,

Alike their features and their robes of white; But one was crowned with amaranth, as with flame,

And one with asphodels, like flakes of light. I

pause on their celestial way; Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppress’d: “ Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray

The place why thy beloved are at rest !" And he who wore the crown of asphodels,

Descending, at my door began to knock, And my soul sank within me, as in wells

The waters sink before an earthquake's shock.

saw them

80

THE TWO ANGELS.

I recognised the nameless agony,

The terror, and the tremor, and the pain, That oft before had fill'd and haunted me,

And now return'd with threefold strength again.

The door I open'd to my heavenly guest,

And listen'd, for I thought I heard God's voice; And, knowing whatsoe'er He sent was best,

Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice.

Then with a smile, that fill’d the house with light,

“My errand is not Death, but Life,” he said ; And ere I answer'd, passing out of sight,

On his celestial embassy he sped.

'Twas at thy door, O friend! and not at mine,

The angel with the amaranthine wreath Pausing descended, and with voice divine,

Whisper'd a word that had a sound like Death.

Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,

A shadow on those features fair and thin;
And softly, from that hush'd and darken'd room,

Two angels issued, where but one went in.

All is of God! if He but wave his hand

The mists collect, the rain falls thick and loud, Till with a smile of light on sea and land,

Lo! He looks back from the departing cloud.

Angels of Life and Death alike are His;

Without His leave they pass no threshold o'er ; Who, then, would wish or dare, believing this, Against His messengers to shut the door?

Longfellow.

SHE WAS A PHANTOM OF DELIGHT.

She was a phantom of delight,
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament.
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair,
Like Twilight's too her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time, and the cheerful Dawn,
A dancing shape, an image gay
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.

I saw her upon nearer view
A spirit, yet a woman too!
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food :
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.

And now I see with eye serene,
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller between life and death.
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength and skill,
A perfect woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort and command,
And yet a spirit still and bright,
With something of angelic light.

Wordsworth.

G

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