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I gave thee of my seed to sow,

Bringest thou me my hundred-fold ? ” Can I look up with face aglow,

And answer, “Father, here is gold ?” I have been innocent; God knows

When first this wasted life began, Not

grape more kindly grows, Than I with every brother-man: Now ere I gasp; what se my kind,

When this fast-ebbing breath shall part ? What bands of love and service bind

This being to the world's sad heart?

grape with

Christ still was wandering o'er the earth

Without a place to lay his head; He found free welcome at my hearth, He shared my cup and broke

my

bread: Now, when I hear those steps sublime,

That bring the other world to this, My snake-turned nature, sunk in slime,

Starts sideway with defiant hiss.

Upon the hour when I was born,

God said, “ Another man shall be,”
And the great Maker did not scorn

Out of himself to fashion me;
He sunned me with his ripening looks,

And Heaven's rich instincts in me grew, As effortless as woodland nooks

Send violets up and paint them blue. Yes, I who now, with angry tears,

Am exiled back to brutish clod, Have borne unquenched for fourscore years

A spark of the eternal God;

And to what end? How yield I back

The trust for such high uses given ? Heaven's light hath but revealed a track

Whereby to crawl away from heaven.

Men think it is an awful sight

To see a soul just set adrift
On that drear voyage from whose night

The ominous shadows never lift;
But 'tis more awful to behold

A helpless infant newly born, Whose little hands unconscious hold

The keys of darkness and of morn.

Mine held them once ; I flung away

Those keys that might have open set The golden sluices of the day,

But clutch the keys of darkness yet ;I hear the reapers singing go

Into God's harvest; I, that might With them have chosen, here below

Grope shuddering at the gates of night.

O glorious Youth, that once wast mine!

O high Ideal! all in vain Ye enter at this ruined shrine

Whence worship ne'er shall rise again , The bat and owl inbabit here,

The snake nests in the altar-stone, The sacred vessels moulder near,

The image of the God is gone.

THE OAK.

WHAT gnarled stretch, what depth of shade, is his !

There needs no crown to mark the forest's king; How in his leaves outshines full summer's bliss !

Sun, storm, rain, dew, to him their tribute bring, Which he with such benignant royalty

Accepts, as overpayeth what is lent ; All nature seems his vassal proud to be,

And cunning only for his ornament.

How towers he, too, amid the billowed snows,

An unquelled exile from the summer's throne, Whose plain, uncinctured front more kingly shows,

Now that the obscuring courtier leaves are flown. His boughs make music of the winter air,

Jewelled with sleet, like some cathedral front Where clinging snow-flakes with quaint art repair

The dints and furrows of time's en vious brunt.

How doth his patient strength the rude March

wind Persuade to seem glad breaths of summer breeze, And win the soil that fain would be unkind,

To swell his revenues with proud increase ! He is the gem; and all the landscape wide

(So doth his grandeur isolate the sense) Seems but the setting, worthless all beside,

An empty socket, were he fallen thence.

So, from oft converse with life's wintry gales, Should man learn how to clasp with tougher

roots The inspiring earth ;-how otherwise avails

The leaf-creating sap that sunward shoots ? So every year that falls with noiseless flake

Should fill old scars up on the stormward side, And make hoar age revered for age's sake,

Not for traditions of youth's leafy pride. So, from the pinched soil of a churlish fate,

True hearts compel the sap of sturdier growtlı, So between earth and heaven stand simply great,

That these shall seem but their attendants both; For nature's forces with obedient zeal

Wait on the rooted faith and oaken will; As quickly the pretender's cheat they feel,

And turn mad Pucks to flout and mock him still.

Lord ! all thy works are lessons —each contains

Some emblem of man's all-containing soul; Shall be make fruitless all thy glorious pains,

Delving within thy grace an eyeless mole? Make me the least of thy Dodona-grove,

Cause me some message of thy truth to bring, Speak but a word through me, nor let thy love Among my boughs disdain to perch and sing.

AMBROSE.

NEVER, surely, was holier man
Than Ambrose, since the world began;
With diet spare and raiment thin,
He shielded himself from the father of sin ;
With bed of iron and scourgings oft,
His heart to God's hand as wax made soft.

Through earnest prayer and watchings long
He sought to know 'twixt right and wrong,
Much wrestling with the blessed Word
To make it yield the sense of the Lord,
That he might build a storm-proof creed
To fold the flock in at their need.

At last he builded a perfect faith,
Fenced round about with The Lord thus saith ;
To himself he fitted the doorway's size,
Meted the light to the need of his eyes,
And knew, by a sure and inward sign,
That the work of his fingers was divine.

Then Ambrose said, “ All those shall die
The eternal death who belieye not as I ;'
And some were boiled, some burned in fire,
Some sawn in twain, that his heart's desire,
For the good of men's souls, might be satisfied,
By the drawing of all to the righteous side.

One day, as Ambrose was seeking the truth
In his lonely walk, he saw a youth
Resting himself in the shade of a tree;

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