THERE came a youth upon the earth,

Some thousand years ago,
Whose slender hands were nothing worth,
Whether to plough, or reap, or sow.

Upon an empty tortoise-shell

He stretched some chords, and drew Music that made men's bosoms swell Fearless, or brimmed their eyes with dew.

Then King Admetus, one who had

Pure taste by right divine,
Decreed his singing not too bad
To hear between the cups of wine:
And so, well-pleased with being soothed

Into a sweet half-sleep,
Three times his kingly beard he smoothed,
And made him viceroy o'er his sheep.
His words were simple words enough,

And yet he used them so,
That what in other mouths was rough
In his seemed musical and low.

Men called him but a shiftless youth,

In whom no good they saw;
And yet, unwittingly, in truth,
They made his careless words their law.

They knew not how he learned at all,

For idly, hour by hour,
He sat and watched the dead leaves fall,
Or mused upon a common flower.

It seemed the loveliness of things

Did teach him all their use, For, in mere weeds, and stones, and springs, He found a healing power profuse. Men granted that his speech was wise,

But, when a glance they caught
Of his slim grace and woman's eyes,
They laughed, and called him good-for-naught.
Yet after he was dead and gone,

And e'en his memory dim,
Earth seemed more sweet to live upon,
More full of love, because of him.
And day by day more holy grew

Each spot where he had trod,
Till after-poets only knew
Their first-born brother as a god.


It is a mere wild rosebud,

Quite sallow now, and dry,
Yet there's something wondrous in it,-

Some gleams of days gone by, -
Dear sights and sounds that are to me
The very moons of memory,
And stir my heart's blood far below
Its short-lived waves of joy and woe.

Lips must fade and roses wither,

All sweet times be o'er,-
They only smile, and, murmuring “ Thither!”

Stay with us no more :
And yet ofttimes a look or smile,
Forgotten in a kiss's while,
Years after from the dark will start,
And flash across the trembling heart.
Thou hast given me many roses,

But never one, like this,
O’erfloods both sense and spirit

With such a deep, wild bliss ;
We must have instincts that glean up
Sparse drops of this life in the cup,
Whose taste shall give us all that we
Can prove of immortality.
Earth's stablest things are shadows,

And, in the life to come,
Haply some chance-saved trifle

May tell of this old home :

As now sometimes we seem to find,
In a dark crevice of the mind,
Some relic, which, long pondered o'er,
Hints faintly at a life before.

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He spoke of Burns: men rude and rough

Pressed round to hear the praise of one Whose heart was made of manly, simple stuff,

As homespun as their own.

And, when he read, they forward leaned, Drinking, with thirsty hearts and ears, His brook-like songs whom glory never weaned

From humble smiles and tears.

Slowly there grew a tender awe,

Sun-like, o'er faces brown and hard,
As if in him who read they felt and saw

of the bard.

It was a sight for sin and wrong

And slavish tyranny to see, A sight to make our faith more pure and strong

In high humanity.

I thought, these men will carry hence

Promptings their former life above, And something of a finer reverence

For beauty, truth, and love.
God scatters love on every side,

Freely among his children all,
And always hearts are lying open wide,

Wherein some grains may fall.

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