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Dreaded of man, and surnamed the Destroyer,
He passed into the chamber of the sleeper,
And as he entered, darker grew, and deeper,
He did not pause to parley or dissemble,
Ah! what a blow! that made all England treinble
And groan from shore to shore.
Meanwhile, without, the surly cannon waited,
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,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table, than the hosts
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
The spirit-world around this world of sense
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.
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,
So from the world of spirits there descends
370 IN THE CHURCHYARD AT CAMBRIDGE.
IN THE CHURCHYARD AT CAMBRIDGE
In the village churchyard she lies,
No more she breathes, nor feels, nor stirs;
Lies a slave to attend the dead,
But their dust is white as hers.
Was she a lady of high degree,
And foolish pomp of this world of ours?
The richest and rarest of all dowers?
Who shall tell us? No one speaks;
Hereafter? And do you think to look
To find her failings, faults, and errors ?
THE EMPEROR'S BIRD'S-NEST.
THE EMPEROR'S BIRD'S-NEST.
ONCE the Emperor Charles of Spain,
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,
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!"
Hearing his imperial name
Coupled with those words of malice,
"Let no hand the bird molest,"
"T is the wife of some deserter!"
Swift as bowstring speeds a shaft,
Through the camp was spread the rumor,
So unharmed and unafraid
Sat the swallow still and brooded,
Then the army, elsewhere bent,
Struck its tents as if disbanding,
So it stood there all alone,
Loosely flapping, torn and tattered,
Which the cannon-shot had shattered.
THE TWO ANGELS.
Two angels, one of Life and one of Death,
The sombre houses hearsed with plumes of smoke.