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Then mourn not death; 'tis but a stair
Built with divinest art, Up which the deathless footsteps climb
Of loved ones who depart.
LIGHT ON THE CLOUD.
There's never an always cloudless sky,
There's never a vale so fair,
But never a cloud o'erhung the day,
And flung its shadows down, But on its heaven-side gleamed some ray
Forming a sunshine crown.
It is dark on only the downward side;
Though rage the tempest loud, And scatter its terrors far and wide,
There's light upon the cloud.
And often, when it traileth low,
And only the chilly east-winds blow
There'll come a time, near the setting sun,
When the joys of life seem few, A rift will break in the evening dim, And the golden light stream through.
And the soul a glorious bridge will make
Out of the golden bars,
John Godfrey Saxe.
THE OLD MAN'S MOTTO.
"Give me a motto," said a youth To one whom years had rendered wise;
"Some pleasant thought, or weighty truth,
That briefest syllables comprise; Some word of warning or of cheer To grave upon my signet here.
"And, reverend father," said the boy,
"Since life, they say, is ever made A mingled web of grief and joy;
Since cares may come and pleasures fade, — Pray, let the motto have a range Of meaning matching every change."
"Sooth!" said the sire, "methinks you ask
A labor something over-nice, That well a finer brain might task.
What think you, lad, of this device (Older than I, though I am gray). 'Tis simple, — ' This will pass away.'
"When wafted on by Fortune's breeze,
In endless peace thou seem'st to glide,
Prepare betimes for rougher seas, And check the boast of foolish pride;
Though smiling joy is thine to-day, Remember, 'This will pass away V
"When all the sky is draped in black, And, beaten by tempestuous gales, Thy shuddering ship seems all awrack,
Then trim again thy tattered sails; To grim Despair be not a prey; Bethink thee, 'This will pass away.'
"Thus, O my son, be not o'er-proud, Nor yet cast down; Judge thou aright;
When skies are clear, expect the cloud;
In darkness, wait the coming light; Whatever be thy fate to-day, Remember, 'This will pass away!'"
Vm g Rowing OLD.
My days pass pleasantly away;
I feel no symptoms of decay;
I have no cause to mourn nor weep; My foes are impotent and shy;
My friends are neither false nor cold,
And yet, of late, I often sigh, —
My growing talk of olden times,
My growing apathy to rhymes,
My growing hate of crowds and noise,
All whisper, in the plainest voice,
I'm growing fonder of my staff;
I'm growing dimmer in the eyes; I'm growing fainter in my laugh;
I'm growing deeper in my sighs; I'm growing careless of my dress;
I'm growing frugal of my gold; I'm growing wise; I'm growing,— yes,—
I'm growing old!
I see it in my changing taste;
I see it in my changing hair; I see it in my growing waist;
I see it in my growing heir; A thousand signs proclaim the truth,
As plain as truth was ever told,
Ah me! my very laurels breathe
And every boon the hours bequeath
E'en Flattery's honeyed words declare The secret she would fain withhold;
And tells me in "How young you are!"
I'm growing old.
Thanks for the years! — whose rapid flight
My sombre Muse too sadly sings;
Thanks for the gleams of golden light
That tint the darkness of their wings;
The light that beams from out the sky,
Those heavenly mansions to unfold Where all are blest, and none may sigh,
"I'm growing old!"
Somewhere—somewhere a happy clime there is, A land that knows not unavailing
Where all the clashing elements of this
Discordant scene are hushed in
deep repose. Somewhere — somewhere (ah me,
that land to win!) In some bright realm, beyond the
farthest main, Where trees of knowledge bear no
fruit of sin, And buds of pleasure blossom not in
Somewhere — somewhere an end of mortal strife With our immortal yearnings; nevermore
The outer warring with the inner life Till both are wretched Ah, that happy shore!
Where shines for aye the soul's refulgent sun,
And life is love, and love and joy are one!
LITTLE JERRY, THE MILLER.
Beneath the hill you may see the mill
Of wasting wood and crumbling stone;
The wheel is dripping and clattering still,
But Jerry, the miller, is dead and gone.
Year after year, early and late, Alike in summer and winter weather,
He pecked the stones and called the gate,
And mill and miller grew old together.
"Little Jerry!" —'twas all the same,—
They loved him well who called him so;
And whether he'd ever another name, Nobody ever seemed to know.
'Twas, "Little Jerry, come grind my rye";
And Little Jerry, come grind my wheat";
And "Little Jerry" was still the cry.
From matron bold and maiden sweet.
'Twas, "Little Jerry" on every tongue,
And so the simple truth was told; For Jerry was little when he was young,
And Jerry was little whon he was old.
But what in size he chanced to lack, That Jerry made up in being strong;
I've seen a sack upon his back
Always busy, and always merry,
A notable wag was little Jerry,
How Jerry lived is known to fame, But how he died there's none may know;
One autumn day the rumor came, "The brook and Jerry are very low."
And then 'twas whispered, mournfully.
The leech had come, and he was dead;
And all the neighbors flocked to see; "Poor little Jerry!" was all they said.
They laid him in his earthly bed, — His miller's coat his only shroud;
"Dust to dust," the parson said, And all the people wept aloud.
For he had shunned the deadly sin,
Had ever dropped into his bin,
Beneath the hill there stands the mill. Of wasting wood and crumbling stone; [Still, The wheel is dripping and clattering But Jerry, the miller, is dead and gone.
WOULDN'T YOU LIKE TO KNOW?
I Know a girl with teeth of pearl,
She lives, —ah! well,
I must not tell, —
Her sunny hair is wondrous fair,
Who made it less
One little tress. —
Her eyes are blue (celestial hue!)
On whom they beam
With melting gleam, —
Her lips are red and finely wed,
What lover sips
Those dewy lips, —
Her fingers are like lilies fair
Whose hand they press
With fond caress, — Wouldn't you like to know?
Her foot is small, and has a fall
And where it goes
Beneath the rose, — Wouldn't you like to know?
She has a name, the sweetest name That language can bestow.
'Twould break the spell
If I should tell, — Wouldn't you like to know?
TREASURE IN HEAVEN.
Every coin of earthly treasure
For our simple worldly pleasure,
For the spending was not losing, Though the purchase were but small:
It has perished with the using;
All the gold we leave behind us
When we turn to dust again (Though our avarice may blind us),
We have gathered quite in vain; Since we neither can direct it,
By the winds of fortune tossed, Nor in other worlds expect it;
What we hoarded, we have lost.
But each merciful oblation —
(Seed of pity wisely sown), What we gave in self-negation,
We may safely call our own; For the treasure freely given
Is the treasure that we hoard, Since the angels keep in Heaven
What is lent unto the Lord!
TO MY LOVE.
Kiss me softly, and speak to me low;
Malice has ever a vigilant ear; What if Malice were lurking near? Kiss me, dear! Kiss me softly and speak to me low.
Kiss me softly and speak to me low;
Envy too has a watchful ear;
What if Envy should chance to hear? Kiss me, dear! Kiss me softly and speak to me low.
Kiss me softly and speak to me low; Trust me, darling, the time is near When we may love with never a fear;
Kiss me, dear! Kiss me softly and speak to me low.
Sir Walter Scott.
[from The Lady of the Lake.] SUMMER DA WN AT LOCHKATRINE.
The summer dawn's reflected hue To purple changed Loch Katrine blue;
Mildly and soft the western breeze Just kissed the lake, just stirred the trees,
And the pleased lake, like maiden coy, Trembled but dimpled not for joy; The mountain shadows on her breast Were neither broken nor at rest;
In bright uncertainty they lie,
The gray mist left the mountain side,
The torrent showed its glistening
pride; Invisible in flecked sky, The lark sent down her revelry;