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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,
The silence and the gloom.
He did not pause to parley or dissemble,
But smote the Warden hoar;
Meanwhile, without, the surly cannon waited,
The sun rose bright o’erhead : Nothing in Nature's aspect intimated
That a great man was dead.
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
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
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 mortniain 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.
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
A bridge of light, connecting it with this, O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
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;
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;
Either of anger or of pride,
By those who are sleeping at her side.
Hereafter ? And do you think to look
To find her failings, faults, and errors ?
In your own secret sins and terrors !
THE EMPEROR'S BIRD'S-NEST.
ONCE the Emperor Charles of Spain,
With his swarthy, grave commanders, 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!”
Hearing his imperial name
Coupled with those words of malice,
Slowly from his canvas palace.
" Let no hand the bird molest,"
Said he solemnly, “nor hurt her!”
'T is the wife of some deserter!”
Swift as bowstring speeds a shaft,
Through the camp was spread the rumor,
At the Emperor's pleasant humor.
So unharmed and unafraid
Sat the swallow still and brooded,
And the siege was thus concluded.
Then the army, elsewhere bent,
Struck its tents as if disbanding,
Very curtly, “Leave it standing !"
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,
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.