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THE SPECTRE OF THE HEARTH.

BY FRANCES BROWN.

Old Europe boasts of the broad low lands
She won from the western main;

But the wasting wave and the whelming sands
Are winning them back again :
Long and fierce is the war they wage
And the conquest groweth from age to age.

The song of the billows' sounding march,
Is heard where the anthem rose;
O'er sculptured column and stately arch
The dreary sand-hill grows,

And fills the waste of the sterile shore,
Where corn was bent by the breeze of yore.

No trace doth the bare, gray summit keep
Of buried spire or dome;

But still, 'tis said, where the drifted heap
Lies high o'er a peasant's home,

The place of the hearth may yet be known
To wanderers forth in the twilight lone.

For there, when stars through the deep'ning gray, Shine far over wave and height,

Or their crests give back the ruddy ray

Of the hamlet-fires of night,

A spectre-woman pours her woe

O'er the cold and the quench'd of long ago.

Old is the tale--aye, old and strange

As the peasant's lore of dreams;

Yet how hath it kept through fear and change
That changeless truth, which seems,
In the power of its undecaying proof,
A golden thread in the rustic woof!

Are there not hearts-the worn, the wise

That ever in vain return

To some spot where their old love-memory lies,

Though they only come to mourn

The dust and the debris piled between

Their souls and the rest they might have seen!

The sands! oh, the severing sands upflung
By the world's wide sea of fears!

And the heart, in its toiling silence stung

By the solitude of years!

And the lights that shine on its lonely ways,
At times, through the twilight-fall of days!

The winters wane, and the ruins grow

With the wrecks of wave and mind;

But, oh! were the dust less deep below,

And the stars above more kind,

How many a dream by the hearth might rest,
That now returns but a spectre guest.

THE LONELY MOTHER.

BY FRANCES BROWN.

My home is not what it hath been,
When the leaves of other years were green,
Though its hearth is bright and its chambers fair,

And the summer beams fall lightly there;

But they fall no more on the clear, young eye, And the lip of pleasant song,

And the gleaming night that wont to lie

On the curls so dark and long.

Oh, pleasant is the voice of youth,
For it tells of the heart's confiding truth
And keeps that free and fearless tone,
That ne'er to our after years is known:
I hear it rise in each hamlet-cot,

O'er evening prayer and page;

But woe for the hearth that heareth nought
But the dreary tones of age.

The glow is gone from our winter blaze,

And the light hath pass'd from our summer days;

And our dwelling hath no household now

But the sad of heart and the gray of brow.

For the young lies low 'neath the church-yard tree,
Where the grass grows green and wild;
And thy mother's heart is sad for thee,—
My lost, mine only child!

But a wakening music seems to flow

On me from the years of long ago,

As thy babe's first words come sweet and clear
Like a voice from thy childhood to mine ear
And her smile beams back on my soul again,

Thy beauty's early morn,

Ere thine eye grew dim with tears or pain,
Or thy lovely locks were shorn.

Alas! for the widow'd eyes that trace
Their early-lost in that orphan face;
What after-light will his memory mark,

Like the dove that in spring-time sought her ark

For long in that far and better land

Were her spirit's treasures laid;

And she might not stay from its golden strand
For the love of hearts that fade.

But woe for her on whose path may shine

The light of no mother's love but mine;
Oh, well if that lonely path lead on

To the land where her mother's steps have gone

The land where the aged find their youth,

And the young no whit'ning hair:
Oh! safe, my child, from both time and death-
Let us hope to meet thee there.

THE FRIEND OF OUR DARKER DAYS.

BY FRANCES BROWN.

"Twas said, when the world was fresh and young,
That the friends of earth were few;
And shrines have blazed, and harps have rung,
For the hearts whose love was true!

And say, when the furrowing tracks of time
Lie deep on the old earth's brow,

The faith so prized in her early prime-
Shall we hope to find it now?

It may be found, like the aloe's bloom
In the depth of western woods,
To which a hundred springs may come,
Yet wake not its starry buds;

But if, through the mists of wintry skies,
It shine on life's weary ways—

What star in the summer heavens will rise
Like that friend of our darker days?

We know there are hands and smiles to greet
Our steps on the summit fair;

But lone are the climber's weary feet,

Where the steep lies bleak and bare.

For some have gain'd far heights and streams,
To their sight with morning crown'd;

But the sunrise shed on their hearts' first dreams,
And its light, they never found!

Yet, O for the bright isles seen afar,
When our sails were first unfurl'd,

And the glance that once was the guiding star Of our green unwithered world!

And, O for the voice that spake in love,

Ere we heard the cold world's praise; And one gourd in our promised noon, to prove Like the friends of our darker days!

Alas! we have missed pure gems that lay

Where the rock seemed stern and cold;
And our search hath found but the hidden clay,
Where we dreamt of pure bright gold.

And dark is the night of changing years
That falls on the trust of youth,

Till the thorns grow up and the tangled tares
In the stronghold of its truth.

The shrines of our household gods, perchance We have seen their brightness wane;

And the love which the heart can give but once,

It may be given in vain ;

But still from the graves of better hopes-
From the depths of memory's maze,
One blessing springs to the heart and lips,
For the friend of our darker days.

WE ARE GROWING OLD.

BY FRANCES BROWN.

We are growing old-how the thought will rise
When a glance is backward cast

On some long-remembered spot that lies
In the silence of the past:

It may be the shrine of our early vows,
Or the tomb of early tears;

But it seems like a far-off isle to us,
In the stormy sea of years.

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