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Beauty hath no true glass, except it be
In the sweet privacy of loving eyes.”
Thus deemed she idly, and forgot the lore
Which she had learned of nature and the woods,
That beauty's chief reward is to itself,
And that the eyes of Love reflect alone
The inward fairness, which is blurred and lost
Unless kept clear and white by Duty's care.
So she went forth and sought the haunts of men,
And, being wedded, in her household cares,
Soon, like the elder brother, quite forgot
The little Sheemah and her father's charge.
But Sheemah, left alone within the lodge, Waited and waited, with a shrinking heart, Thinking each rustle was his sister's step, Till hope grew less and less, and then went out, And every sound was changed from hope to fear. Few sounds there were :—the dropping of a nut, The squirrel's chirrup, and the jay's harsh scream, Autumn's sad remnants of blithe Summer's cheer, Heard at long intervals, seemed but to make The dreadful void of silence silenter. Soon what small store his sister left was gone, And, through the Autumn, he made shift to live On roots and berries, gathered in much fear Of wolves, whose ghastly howl he heard ofttimes, Hollow and hungry, at the dead of night. But Winter came at last, and, when the snow, Thick-heaped for gleaming leagues o'er hill and
plain, Spread its unbroken silence over all, Made bold by hunger, he was fain to glean, (More sick at heart than Ruth, and all alone,) After the harvest of the merciless wolf, Grim Boaz, who, sharp-ribbed and gaunt, yet feared A thing more wild and starving than himself;
Till, by degrees, the wolf and he grew friends,
And shared together all the winter through.
Late in the Spring, when all the ice was gone,
The elder brother, fishing in the lake,
Upon whose edge his father's wigwam stood,
Heard a low moaning noise upon the shore :
Half like a child it seemed, half like a wolf,
And straightway there was something in his heart
That said, “ It is thy brother Sheemah's voice.”
So, paddling swiftly to the bank, he saw,
Within a little thicket close at hand,
A child that seemed fast changing to a wolf,
From the neck downward, gray with shaggy hair,
That still crept on and upward as he looked.
The face was turned away, but well he knew
That it was Sheemah's, even his brother's face.
Then with his trembling hands he hid his eyes,
And bowed his head, so that he might not see
The first look of his brother's eyes, and cried,
“O, Sheemah ! O, my brother, speak to me!
Dost thou not know me, that I am thy brother?
Come to me, little Sheemah, thou shalt dwell
With me henceforth, and know no care or want!”
Sheemah was silent for a space, as if
'Twere hard to summon up a human voice,
And, when he spake, the sound was of a wolf's :
“I know thee not, nor art thou what thou say'st;
I have none other brethren than the wolves,
And, till thy heart be changed from what it is,
Thou art not worthy to be called their kin.”
Then groaned the other, with a choking tongue
“Alas ! my heart is changed right bitterly;
'Tis shrunk and parched within me even now!'
And, looking upward fearfully, he saw
Only a wolf that shrank away and ran,
Ugly and fierce, to hide among the woods.
MEN! whose boast it is that ye
Come of fathers brave and free,
If there breathe on earth a slave,
Are ye truly free and brave?
If ye do not feel the chain,
When it works a brother's pain,
Are ye not base slaves indeed,
Slaves unworthy to be freed ?
Women! who shall one day bear
Sons to breathe New England air,
If ye hear, without a blush,
Deeds to make the roused blood rush
Like red lava through your veins,
For your sisters now in chains,-
Answer! are ye fit to be
Mothers of the brave and free ?
Is true Freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake,
And, with leathern hearts, forget
That we owe mankind a debt?
No! true freedom is to share
All the chains our brothers wear,
And, with heart and hand, to be
Earnest to make others free!
They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.
The cordage creaks and rattles in the wind,
With freaks of sudden hush ; the reeling sea
Now thumps like solid rock beneath the stern,
Now leaps with clumsy wrath, strikes short, and,
falling Crumbled to whispery foam, slips rustling down The broad backs of the waves, which jostle and
crowd To fling themselves upon that unknown shore, Their used familiar since the dawn of time, Whither this foredoomed life is guided on To sway on triumph's hushed, aspiring poise One glittering moment, then to break fulfilled. How lonely is the sea's perpetual swing, The melancholy wash of endless waves, The sigh of some grim monster undescried, Fear-painted on the canvas of the dark, Shifting on his uneasy pillow of brine ! Yet night brings more companions than the day To this drear waste ; new constellations burn, And fairer stars, with whose calm height my soul Finds nearer sympathy than with my herd Of earthen souls, whose vision’s scanty ring Makes me its prisoner to beat my wings Against the cold bars of their unbelief, Knowing in vain my own free heaven beyond. O God! this world, so crammed with eager life, That comes and goes and wanders back to silence Like the idle wind, which yet man's shaping mind