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A CONTRAST.

VE AN you open that ebony Casket ? SEO Look, this is the key: but stay,

& Those are only a few old letters That I keep,—to burn some day.

Yes, that Locket is quaint and ancient;

But leave it, dear, with the ring,
And give me the little Portrait

Which hangs by a crimson string.

I have never opened that Casket

Since, many long years ago,
It was sent me back in anger

By one whom I used to know.

But I want you to see the Portrait :

I wonder if you can trace
A look of that smiling creature

Left now in my faded face.

It was like me once; but remember

The weary relentless years,
And Life, with its fierce brief Tempests,

And its long, long rain of tears.

Is it strange to call it my Portrait ?

Nay, smile, dear, for well you may, To think of that radiant Vision

And of what I am to-day.

With restless, yet confident longing

How those blue eyes seem to gaze Into deep and exhaustless Treasures,

All hid in the coming days.

With that trust which leans on the Future,

And counts on her promised store, Until she has taught us to tremble

And hope,—but to trust no more.

How that young, light heart would have pitied

Me now-if her dreams had shown
A quiet and weary woman
With all her illusions flown.

Yet I—who shall soon be resting,

And have passed the hardest part, Can look back with a deeper pity

On that young unconscious heart.

It is strange; but Life's currents drift us

So surely and swiftly on,
That we scarcely notice the changes,

And how many things are gone :

And forget, while to-day absorbs us,

How old mysteries are unsealed; How the old, old ties are loosened,

And the old, old wounds are healed.

And we say that our Life is fleeting

Like a story that Time has told; But we fancy that we—we only

Are just what we were of old.

So now and then it is wisdorn

To gaze, as I do to-day, At a half-forgotten relic

Of a Time that is passed away.

The very look of that Portrait,

The Perfume that seems to cling To those fragile and faded letters,

And the Locket, and the Ring,

If they only stirred in my spirit

Forgotten pleasure and pain,Why, memory is often bitter,

And almost always in vain ;

But the contrast of bygone hours

Comes to rend a veil away,– And I marvel to see the stranger

Who is living in me to-day.

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THE BRIDE'S DREAM.

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HE stars are gleaming;

The maiden sleeps-
o What is she dreaming ?

For see—she weeps.
By her side is an Angel

With folded wings;
While the Maiden slumbers

The Angel sings :
He sings of a Bridal,

Of Love, of pain,
Of a heart to be given,-

And all in vain;
(See, her cheek is flushing,

As if with pain ;)
He telleth of sorrow,

Regrets and fears,
And the few vain pleasures

We buy with tears;

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