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THE ROPEWALK.

There are things of which I may not speak ;

There are dreams that cannot die;

There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak,
And bring a pallor into the cheek,
And a mist before the eye.

And the words of that fatal song
Come over me like a chill:

"A boy's will is the wind's will,

And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

Strange to me now are the forms I meet
When I visit the dear old town;

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But the native air is pure and sweet,

And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known

street,

As they balance up and down, Are singing the beautiful song, Are sighing and whispering still: "A boy's will is the wind's will, And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

And Deering's Woods are fresh and fair,
And with joy that is almost pain
My heart goes back to wander there,

And among the dreams of the days that were,
I find my lost youth again.

And the strange and beautiful song, The groves are repeating it still : "A boy's will is the wind's will,

And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

THE ROPEWALK.

IN that building, long and low,
With its windows all a-row,

Like the port-holes of a hulk,

Human spiders spin and spin, Backward down their threads so thin Dropping, each a hempen bulk.

At the end, an open door;
Squares of sunshine on the floor

Light the long and dusky lane;
And the whirring of a wheel,
Dull and drowsy, makes me feel

All its spokes are in my brain.

As the spinners to the end
Downward go and reascend,

Gleam the long threads in the sun; While within this brain of mine Cobwebs brighter and more fine

By the busy wheel are spun.

Two fair maidens in a swing,
Like white doves upon the wing,

First before my vision pass; Laughing, as their gentle hands Closely clasp the twisted strands,

At their shadow on the grass.

Then a booth of mountebanks,
With its smell of tan and planks,
And a girl poised high in air
On n a cord, in spangled dress.
With a faded loveliness,
And a weary look of care.

Then a homestead among farms,
And a woman with bare arms

Drawing water from a well;
As the bucket mounts apace,
With it mounts her own fair face,
As at some magician's spell.

THE ROPEWALK.

Then an old man in a tower,
Ringing loud the noontide hour,
While the rope coils round and round
Like a serpent at his feet,
And again, in swift retreat,
Nearly lifts him from the ground.

Then within a prison-yard,
Faces fixed, and stern, and hard,
Laughter and indecent mirth;
Ah! it is the gallows-tree!
Breath of Christian charity,

Blow, and sweep it from the earth!

Then a school-boy, with his kite
Gleaming in a sky of light,

And an eager, upward look;
Steeds pursued through lane and field;
Fowlers with their snares concealed;
And an angler by a brook.

Ships rejoicing in the breeze,
Wrecks that float o'er unknown seas,

Anchors dragged through faithless sand;
Sea-fog drifting overhead,
And, with lessening line and lead,
Sailors feeling for the land.

All these scenes do I behold,
These, and many left untold,

In that building long and low;
While the wheel goes round and round,
With a drowsy, dreamy sound,
And the spinners backward go.

VOL. I.

385

25

THE GOLDEN MILE-STONE.

LEAFLESS are the trees; their purple branches Spread themselves abroad, like reefs of coral, Rising silent

In the Red Sea of the Winter sunset.

From the hundred chimneys of the village,
Like the Afreet in the Arabian story,
Smoky columns

Tower aloft into the air of amber.

At the window winks the flickering fire-light; Here and there the lamps of evening glimmer, Social watch-fires

Answering one another through the darkness.

On the hearth the lighted logs are glowing,
And like Ariel in the cloven pine-tree
For its freedom

Groans and sighs the air imprisoned in them.

By the fireside there are old men seated,
Seeing ruined cities in the ashes,
Asking sadly

Of the Past what it can ne'er restore them.

By the fireside there are youthful dreamers,
Building castles fair, with stately stairways,
Asking blindly

Of the Future what it cannot give them.

By the fireside tragedies are acted
In whose scenes appear two actors only,
Wife and husband,
And above them God the sole spectator.

CATAWBA WINE.

By the fireside there are peace and comfort,
Wives and children, with fair, thoughtful faces,
Waiting, watching

For a well-known footstep in the passage.

Each man's chimney is his Golden Mile-stone;
Is the central point, from which he measures
Every distance

Through the gateways of the world around him.

In his farthest wanderings still he sees it;
Hears the talking flame, the answering night-wind,
As he heard them

When he sat with those who were, but are not.

Happy he whom neither wealth nor fashion,
Nor the march of the encroaching city,
Drives an exile

From the hearth of his ancestral homestead.

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We

e may build more splendid habitations, Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures, But we cannot Buy with gold the old associations!

CATAWBA WINE.

THIS Song of mine
Is a Song of the Vine,
To be sung by the glowing embers
Of wayside inns,

When the rain begins

To darken the drear Novembers.

It is not a song

Of the Scuppernong,

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