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Dreaded of man, and surnamed the Destroyer,
The rampart wall has scaled.

He passed into the chamber of the sleeper,
The dark and silent room,

And as he entered, darker grew, and deeper,
The silence and the gloom.

He did not pause to parley or dissemble,
But smote the Warden hoar;

Ah! what a blow! that made all England treinble

And groan from shore to shore.

Meanwhile, without, the surly cannon waited,
The sun rose bright o'erhead :
Nothing in Nature's aspect intimated
That a great man was dead.

HAUNTED HOUSES.

ALL houses wherein men have lived and died

Are haunted houses. Through the open doors The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,

With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,

A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table, than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall

Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

HAUNTED HOUSES.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see

The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapors

dense

A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise

By opposite attractions and desires; The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,

And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar

Of earthly wants and aspirations high, Come from the influence of an unseen star, An undiscovered planet in our sky.

369

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light, Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd Into the realm of mystery and night,

VOL. I.

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So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

24

370 IN THE CHURCHYARD AT CAMBRIDGE.

IN THE CHURCHYARD AT CAMBRIDGE

In the village churchyard she lies,
Dust is in her beautiful eyes,

No more she breathes, nor feels, nor stirs;
At her feet and at her head

Lies a slave to attend the dead,

But their dust is white as hers.

Was she a lady of high degree,
So much in love with the vanity

And foolish pomp of this world of ours?
Or was it Christian charity,
And lowliness and humility,

The richest and rarest of all dowers?

Who shall tell us? No one speaks;
No color shoots into those cheeks,
Either of anger or of pride,
At the rude question we have asked;
Nor will the mystery be unmasked
By those who are sleeping at her side.

Hereafter? And do you think to look
On the terrible pages of that Book

To find her failings, faults, and errors ?
Ah, you will then have other cares,
In your own short-comings and despairs,
In your own secret sins and terrors !

THE EMPEROR'S BIRD'S-NEST.

THE EMPEROR'S BIRD'S-NEST.

ONCE the Emperor Charles of Spain,
With his swarthy, grave commanders,
I forget in what campaign,
Long besieged, in mud and rain,
Some old frontier town of Flanders.

Up and down the dreary camp,

In great boots of Spanish leather, Striding with a measured tramp, These Hidalgos, dull and damp,

Cursed the Frenchmen, cursed the weather.

Thus as to and fro they went,
Over upland and through hollow,
Giving their impatience vent,
Perched upon the Emperor's tent,

In her nest, they spied a swallow.

Yes, it was a swallow's nest,

Built of clay and hair of horses, Mane, or tail, or dragoon's crest, Found on hedge-rows east and west, After skirmish of the forces.

Then an old Hidalgo said,

As he twirled his gray mustachio, "Sure this swallow overhead Thinks the Emperor's tent a shed,

And the Emperor but a Macho!"

371

Hearing his imperial name

Coupled with those words of malice,
Half in anger, half in shame,
Forth the great campaigner came
Slowly from his canvas palace.

"Let no hand the bird molest,"
Said he solemnly, "nor hurt her!"
Adding then, by way of jest,
"Golondrina is my guest,

"T is the wife of some deserter!"

Swift as bowstring speeds a shaft,

Through the camp was spread the rumor,
And the soldiers, as they quaffed
Flemish beer at dinner, laughed
At the Emperor's pleasant humor.

So unharmed and unafraid

Sat the swallow still and brooded,
Till the constant cannonade
Through the walls a breach had made,
And the siege was thus concluded.

Then the army, elsewhere bent,

Struck its tents as if disbanding,
Only not the Emperor's tent,
For he ordered, ere he went,
Very curtly, "Leave it standing!"

So it stood there all alone,

Loosely flapping, torn and tattered,
Till the brood was fledged and flown,
Singing o'er those walls of stone

Which the cannon-shot had shattered.

THE TWO ANGELS.

Two angels, one of Life and one of Death,
Passed o'er our village as the morning broke;
The dawn was on their faces, and beneath,

The sombre houses hearsed with plumes of smoke.

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