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It shall be a blessing, my little maid! I will heal the stab of the Red-Coat's blade,

And freshen the gold of the tarnished frame,

And gild with a rhyme your household name:

So you shall smile on us brave and bright

As first you greeted the morning's light,

And live untroubled by woes and fears

Through a second youth of a hundred years.


Mat hands are cold; her face is white;

No more her pulses come and go; Her eyes are shut to life and light; — Fold the white vesture, snow on snow,

And lay her where the violets blow.

But not beneath a graven stone,
To plead for tears with alien eyes;

A slender cross of wood alone
Shall say, that here a maiden lies,
In peace beneath the peaceful

And gray old trees of hugest limb Shall wheel their circling shadows round

To make the scorching sunlight dim That drinks the greenness from the ground,

And drop their dead leaves on her mound.

When o'er their boughs the squirrels run,

And through their leaves the robins call,

And ripening in the autumn sun. The acorns and the chestnuts fall, Doubt not that she will heed them all.

For her the morning choir shall sing its matins from the branches high,

And every minstrel-voice of Spring, that trills beneath the April sky, Shall greet her with its earliest cry.

When turning round their dial track, Eastward the lengthening shadows pass,

Her little mourners, clad in black, The crickets, sliding through the grass,

Shall pipe for her an evening mass.

At last the rootlets of the trees
Shall find the prison where she lies,

And bear the buried dust they seize.
In leaves and blossoms to the skies
So may the soul that warmed it

If any, born of kindlier blood, Should ask, What maiden lies below?

Say only this: A tender bud,
That tried to blossom in the snow,
Lies withered where the violets


Slow toiling upward from the misty vale,

I leave the bright enamelled zones below;

No more for me their beauteous bloom shall glow, Their lingering sweetness load the

morning gale; Few are the slender flowerets, scentless, pale,

That on their ice-clad stems, all trembling blow

Along the margin of unmelting snow;

Yet with unaaddened voice thy verge I hail,

White realm of peace above the flowering line, Welcome thy frozen domes, thy rocky spires!

O'er thee undimmed the moon-girt

planets shine, On thy majestic altars fade the fires That filled the air with smoke of vain


And all the unclouded blue of heaven is thine 1


Behold the rocky wall That down its sloping sides Pours the swift rain-drops, blending as they fall, In rushing river-tides!

Yon stream, whose sources run Turned by a pebble's edge, Is Athabasca, rolling towards the sun through the cleft mountain-ledge.

The slender rill had strayed, But for the slanting stone, To evening's ocean, with the tangled braid

Of foam-flecked Oregon.

So from the heights of Will Life's parting stream descends, And, as a moment turns its slender rill,

Each widening torrent bends, —

From the same cradle's side, From the same mother's knee, — One to long darkness and the frozen tide,

One to the Peaceful Sea!


O Love Divine, that stoopedst to share

Our sharpest pang, our bitterest tear,

On Thee we cast each earth-born care, We smile at pain while Thou art near!

Though long the weary way we tread, And sorrow crown each lingering year,

No path we shun, no darkness dread, Our hearts still whispering, Thou art near!

When drooping pleasure turns to grief,

And trembling faith is changed to fear,

The murmuring wind, the quivering leaf,

Shall softly tell us, Thou art near!

On Thee we fling our burdening woe, O Love Divine, forever dear,

Content to suffer while we know, Living and dying, Thou art near!

Thomas Hood.


[From the Ode thereon.]

Lo! here the best, the worst, the world

Doth now remember or forget
Are in one common ruin hurled;
And love and hate are calmly met —
The loveliest eyes that ever shone,
The fairest hands, and locks of jet.

Is't not enough to vex our souls

And fill our eyes, that we have set

Our love upon a rose's leaf,

Our hearts upon a violet?

Blue eyes, red cheeks, are frailer yet;

And, sometimes, at their swift decay

Beforehand we must fret.

The roses bud and bloom again;

But love may haunt the grave of love.

And watch the mould in vain.

O clasp me, sweet, whilst thou art mine,

And do not take my tears amiss;
For tears must flow to wash away
A thought that shows so stern as

Forgive, if some while I forget,
In woe to come, the present bliss,
As frighted Proserpine let fall
Her flowers at the sight of Dis.
E'en so the dark and bright will

The sunniest things throw sternest shade;

And there is even a happiness
That makes the heart afraid I
Now let us with a spell invoke
The full-orbed moon to grieve our

Not bright, not bright — but with a cloud

Lapped all about her, let her rise
All pale and dim, as if from rest.
The ghost of the late buried sun
Had crept into the skies.
The moon! she is the source of

The very face to make us sad,
If but to think in other times
The same calm, quiet look she had,
As if the world held nothing base,
Or vile and mean, or fierce and
bad —

The same fair light that shone in streams,

The fairy lamp that charmed the lad;

For so it is, with spent delights She taunts men's brains, and makes them mad.

All things are touched with melancholy,

Born of the secret souls mistrust
To feel her fair ethereal wings
Weighed down with vile, degraded

Even the bright extremes of joy
Bring on conclusions of disgust —
Like the sweet blossoms of the

Whose fragrance ends in must.
Oh, give her then her tribute just,

Her sighs and tears, and musings holy!

There is no music in the life That sounds with idiot laughter solely;

There's not a string attuned to mirth, But has its chord in melancholy.


Love thy mother, little one!
Kiss and clasp her neck again, —
Hereafter she may have a son
Will kiss and clasp her neck in vain.
Love thy mother, little one!

Gaze upon her living eyes,
And mirror back her love for thee, —
Hereafter thou may'st shudder sighs
To meet them when they cannot see.
Gaze upon her living eyes!

Press her lips the while they glow
With love that they have often told,
Hereafter thou mayest press in woe,
And kiss them till thine old are cold.
Press her lips the while they glow!

Oh, revere her raven hair!
Although it be not silver-gray —
Too early Death, led on by Care,
May snatch save one dear lock away.
Oh! revere her raven hair!

Pray for her at eve and morn,
That Heaven may long the stroke


For thou may'st live the hour forlorn When thou wilt ask to die with her. Pray for her at eve and morn!


I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon;

Nor brought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember

The roses, red and white,

The violets, and the lily-cups —

Those flowers made of light!

The lilacs where the robin built

And where my brother set

The laburnum on his birthday, —

The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as

To swallows on the wing;

My spirit flew in feathers then,

That is so heavy now,

And summer pools could hardly cool

The fever on my brow I

I remember, I remember

The fir-trees dark and high;

I used to think their slender tops

Were close against the sky.

It was a childish ignorance,

But now't is little Joy

To know I'm farther off from heaven

Than when I was a boy.


We watched her breathing through the night

Her breathing soft and low, As in her breast the wave of life

Kept heaving to and fro.

So silently we seemed to speak,

So slowly moved about, As we had lent her half our powers

To eke her living out.

Our very hopes belied our fears,
Our fears our hopes belied —

We thought her dying when she slept,
And sleeping when she died.

For when the morn came, dim and sad,

And chill with early showers, Her quiet eyelids closed — she had Another morn than ours.


With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread —

Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt;
And still with a voice of dolorous

She sang the " Song of the Shirt!"

"Work! work! work!

While the cock is crowing aloof 1 And work — work — work,

Till the stars shine through the roof!

It's oh! to be a slave

Along with the barbarous Turk, Where woman has never a soul to save,

If this is Christian work!

"Work — work — work

Till the brain begins to swim! Work — work — work

Till the eyes are heavy and dim! Seam, and gusset, and band,

Band, and gusset, and seam — Till over the buttons I fall asleep,

And sew them on in a dream!

"O men, with sisters dear!

O men, with mothers and wives! It is not linen you 're wearing out!

But human creatures' lives!
Stitch — stitch — stitch,

In poverty, hunger, and dirt — Sewing at once, with a double thread,

A shroud as well as a shirt!

"But why do I talk of Death —
That phantom of grisly bone?

I hardly fear his terrible shape,
It seems so like my own —

It seems so like my own because of the fasts I keep; O God! that bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap!

"Work — work — work!

My labor never flags; And what are its wages? A bed of straw,

A crust of bread, and rags. That shattered roof, and this naked floor;

A table, a broken chair; And a wall so blank my shadow I thank

For sometimes falling there!

"Work — work — work!

From weary chime to chime! Work — work — work —

As prisoners work for crime 1 Band, and gusset, and seam,

Seam, and gusset, and band — Till the heart is sick and the brain benumbed,

As well as the weary hand.

"Work — work — work

In the dull December light! And work — work — work,

When the weather is warm and bright! — While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling. As if to show me their sunny backs,

And twit me with the spring.

"O! but to breathe the breath

Of the cowslip and primrose sweet— With the sky above my head,

And the grass beneath my feet! For only one short hour

To feel as I used to feel, Before I knew the woes of want

And the walk that costs a meal!

"O! but for one short hour —

A respite however brief I No blessed leisure for love or hope,

But only time for grief!
A little weeping would ease my heart;

But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop

Hinders needle and thread!"

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread —

Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt;
And still, with a voice of dolorous
pitch —

Would that its tone could reach the Rich! —

She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"


One more unfortunate,
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate,
Gone to her death!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care!
Fashioned so slenderly —
Young, and so fair!

Look at her garments
Clinging like cerements,
Whilst the wave constantly
Drips from her clothing;
Take her up instantly,
Loving, not loathing!

Touch her not scornfully!
Think of her mournfully,
Gently and humanly —
Not of the stains of her;
All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly.

Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny,
Rash and undutiful;
Past all dishonor,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.

Still, for all slips of hers,
One of Eve's family —
Wipe those poor lips of hers,
Oozing so clammily.

Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb —

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