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Where the merlin singeth low, with the hawk above her,
Came a foot and shone a smile--woe is me, the lover!
Leaflets on the hollow'oak still as greenly quiver,
Musical, amid the reeds, murmurs on the river ;
But the footstep and the smile !—woe is me forever!

These beautiful lines are also by this eminent novelist and poet :

When stars are in the quiet skies, then most I pine for thee;
Bend on me then thy tender eyes, as stars look on the sea.
For thoughts, like waves that glide by night, are stillest when they


Mine earthly love lies hushed in light, beneath the heaven of thine.
There is an hour when angels keep familiar watch o'er men,
When coarser souls are wrapped in sleep; sweet Spirit, meet me then!
There is an hour when holy dreams through slumber fairest glide,
And in that mystic hour it seems thou shouldst be by my side.
My thoughts of thee too sacred are for daylight's common beam ;
I can but know thee as my star, my angel, and my dream !
When stars are in the quiet skies, then most I pine for thee;
Bend on me then thy tender eyes, as stars look on the sea.

As a genial satirist, Oliver WENDELL Holmes is perhaps unsurpassed by any American writer ; he is not only a humorist, but a true poet of passion and pathos, although his forte is the grotesque : witness the following extracts :But now his nose is thin, and it rests upon his chin

Like a staff;
And a crook is in his back, and a melancholy crack

In his laugh.
For I know it is a sin for me to sit and grin

At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat, and the breeches, and all that,

Are so queer!

Quite equal to the above is the following, entitled My Aunt :

My aunt, my dear unmarried aunt ! Long years have o'er her Aown ;
Yet still she strains the aching clasp that binds her virgin zone :
I know it hurts her—though she looks as cheerful as she can ;
Her waist is ampler than her life, for life is but a span !
My aunt, my poor deluded aunt ! her hair is almost gray ;
Why will she train that winter curl in such a spring-like way?
How can she lay her glasses down, and say she reads as well,
When through a double convex lens she just makes out to spell ?

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Flash out a stream of blood-red wine!

For I would drink to other days;
And brighter shall their memory shine,

Seen Aaming through its crimson blaze.
The roses die, the summers fade ;

But every ghost of boyhood's dream
By nature's magic power is laid

To sleep beneath this blood-red stream.
It filled the purple grapes that lay

And drank the splendours of the sun,
Where the long Summer's cloudless day

Is mirrored in the broad Garonne ;
It pictures still the bacchant shapes

That saw their hoarded sunlight shed, -
The maidens dancing on the grapes, —

Their milk-white ankles splashed with red.
Beneath these waves of crimson lie,

In rosy fetters prisoned fast,
Those Aitting shapes that never die,
The swift-winged visions of the past.

Kiss but the crystal's mystic rim,

Each shadow rends its flowery chain,
Springs in a bubble from its brim,

And walks the chambers of the brain.


Here, clad in burning robes, are laid

Life's blossomed joys, untimely shed ;
And here those cherished forms have strayed

We miss awhile, and call them dead.
What wizard fills the maddening glass?

What soil the enchanted clusters grew,
That buried passions wake, and pass

In beaded drops of fiery dew?

Here is his graphic sketch of the Ploughman :

Clear the brown path, to meet his coulter's gleam !
Lo! on he comes, behind his smoking team,
With toil's bright dew-drops on his sunburnt brow,
The lord of earth, the hero of the plough!
First in the field, before the reddening sun,
Last in the shadows when the day is done.
Line after line, along the bursting sod,
Marks the broad acres where his feet have trod;
Still, where he treads the stubborn clods divide,
The smooth, fresh furrow opens deep and wide ;
Matted and dense, the tangled turf upheaves,
Mellow and dark, the ridgy corn-field cleaves ;
Up the steep hill-side, where the labouring train
Slants the long track that scores the level plain ;
Through the moist valley, clogged with oozing clay,
The patient convoy breaks its destined way ;
At every turn the loosening chains resound,

The swinging ploughshare circles glistening round,
Till the wide field one billowy waste appears,
And wearied hands unbind the panting steers.
These are the hands whose sturdy labour brings
The peasant's food, the golden pomp of kings:


This is the page whose letters shall be seen
Changed by the sun to words of living green ;
This is the scholar whose immortal pen
Spells the first lesson hunger taught to men ;
These are the lines that heaven-commanded Toil
Shows on his deed—the charter of the soil !


One more extract from his charming compositions, and one of the best :

We count the broken lyres that rest

Where the sweet wailing singers slumber;
But, o'er their silent sister's breast,

The wild Aowers, who will stoop to number?
A few can touch the magic string,

And noisy Fame is proud to win them;
Alas! for those that never sing,

But die with all their music in them!
Nay, grieve not for the dead alone,

Whose song has told their hearts' sad story;
Weep for the voiceless, who have known

The cross without the crown of glory!
Not where Leucadian breezes sweep

O’er Sappho's memory-haunted billow,
But where the glistening night-dews weep,

On nameless sorrow's churchyard pillow !
O hearts that break and give no sign,

Save whitening lip and fading tresses,
Till Death pours out his cordial wine,

Slow dropped from Misery's crushing presses :-
If singing breath, or echoing chord,

To every hidden pang were given,
What endless melodies were poured,

As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven.

Emerson's fine lines, entitled Each and All, are now before us :

Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown
Of thee, from the hill-top looking down;
The heifer that lows in the upland farm,
Far heard, lows not thy ear to charm ;
The sexton, tolling his bell at noon,

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