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MAIDENHOOD.

27

O suffering, sad humanity!
O ye afflicted ones, who lie
Steeped to the lips in misery,
Longing, and yet afraid to die,

Patient, though sorely tried !

I pledge you in this cup of grief,
Where floats the fennel's bitter leaf,
The Battle of our Life is brief,
The alarm, — the struggle, - the relief, —

Then sleep we side by side.

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Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?

Hearest thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar ?

0, thou child of many prayers ! Life hath quicksands, — Life hath snares, Care and age come unawares !

Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.

Childhood is the bough, where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many-numbered ;
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.

Gather, then, each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.

Bear a lily in thy hand ;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.

Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.

0, that dew, like balm, shall steal Into wounds, that cannot heal, Even as sleep our eyes doth seal ;

And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.

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THE

'HE shades of night were falling fast,

As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,

Excelsior !

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His brow was sad ; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a faulchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

Excelsior!

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

Excelsior!

Try not the Pass !” the old man said ; “Dark lowers the tempest overhead, The roaring torrent is deep and wide!” And loud that clarion voice replied,

Excelsior!

“O stay,” the maiden said, “and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast !”
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,

Excelsior!

“ Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!”
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,

Excelsior!

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

Excelsior!

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,

Excelsior!

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,

Excelsior!

A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE.

31

A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE.

HIS is the place. Stand still, my steed,

Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past

The forms that once have been.

T

The Past and Present here unite

Beneath Time's flowing tide, Like footprints hidden by a brook,

But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;

There the green lane descends,
Through which I walked to church with thee,

O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees,

Lay moving on the grass ;
Between them and the moving boughs,

A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,

And thy heart as pure as they : One of God's holy messengers

Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees

Bend down thy touch to meet, The clover-blossoms in the grass

Rise up to kiss thy feet.

Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,

Of earth and folly born!” Solemnly sang the village choir

On that sweet Sabbath morn.

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