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To close the eye, and close the ear,
And gently dream in loving arms,
Scarce knowing if we wake or sleep,
To feel all evil sink away,
Sweet souls around us! watch us still,
Press nearer to our side, Into our thoughts, into our prayers,
With gentle helpings glide.
Let death between us be as naught,
Your joy be the reality.
Alfred Billings Street.
QUEBEC AT SUNRISE.
The fresh May morning's earliest light,
Frcm where the richest hues were blended,
Lit on Cape Diamond's towering height
Whose spangled crystals glittered bright,
Thence to the castle roof descended, And bathed in radiance pure and deep [steep. The spires and dwellings of the Still downward crept the strengthening rays; The lofty crowded roofs below And CataraquI caught the glow, Till the whole scene was in a blaze. The scattered bastions,— walls of stone
With bristling lines of cannon
crowned. Whose muzzles o'er the landscape
Blackly through their embrasures — shone.
Point Levi's woods sent many a wreath
Of mist, as though hearths smoked
beneath. Whilst heavy folds of vapor gray Upon St. Charles, still brooding, lay; The basin glowed in splendid dyes Glassing the glories of the skies, And chequered tints of light and
The banks of Orleans' Isle displayed.
"twas in June's bright and glowing prime
The loveliest of the summer time. The laurels were one splendid sheet Of crowded blossom everywhere; The locust's clustered pearl was sweet, [air And the tall whitewood made the Delicious with the fragrance shed From the gold flowers all o'er it spread.
In the rich pomp of dying day Quebec, the rock-throned monarch, glowed,
Castle and spire and dwelling gray The batteries rude that niched their way
Along the cliff, beneath the play
In flashing glory flowed;
Until the downward view was closed by mountain-tops that, reared
Against the burnished sky, appeared In misty dreamy hue.
West of Quebec's embankments rose The forests in their wild repose. Between the trunks, the radiance slim
Here came with slant and quivering blaze;
Whilst there, in leaf-wreathed arbors dim,
Was gathering gray the twilight's haze.
Where cut the boughs the background glow That striped the west, a glittering belt,
The leaves transparent seemed, as though
In the rich radiance they would melt.
Upon a narrow grassy glade, Where thickets stood in grouping shade,
The light streaked down in golden mist,
Kindled the shrubs, the greensward kissed,
Until the ciover-blossoms white Flashed out like spangles large and bright.
This green and sun-streaked glade was rife
With sights and sounds of forest life. A robin in a bush was singing,
A flicker rattled on a tree; In liquid fife-like tones round ringing
A thrasher piped its melody; Crouching and leaping with pointed ear
From thicket to thicket a rabbit sped,
And on the short delicate grass a deer
Lashing the insects from off him, fed.
THE CANADIAN SPRING.
'twas May! the spring with magic bloom
Leaped up from winter's frozen tomb.
Day lit the river's icy mail; The bland warm rain at evening sank;
Ice fragments dashed in midnight's gale;
The moose at morn the ripples drank.
The yacht, that stood with naked mast
In the locked shallows motionless When sunset fell, went curtseying past
As breathed the morning's light caress.
The woodman, in the forest deep, At sunrise heard with gladdening thrill,
Where yester-eve was gloomy sleep.
The brown rossignol's carol shrill; Where yester-eve the snowbank spread
The hemlock's twisted roots between,
He saw the coltsfoot's golden head Rising from mosses plump and green;
Whilst all around were budding trees, And mellow sweetness filled the breeze,
A few days passed along, and brought More changes as by magic wrought. With plumes were tipped the beechen sprays;
The birch, long dangling tassels showed; The oak still bare, but in a blaze
Of gorgeous red the maple glowed; With clusters of the purest white Cherry and shadbush charmed the sight
Like spots of snow the boughs among;
And showers of strawberry blossoms made
Rich carpets in each field and glade Where day its kindliest glances flung.
And air, too, hailed spring's joyous sway;
The bluebird warbled clear and
Then came the wren with carols gay, The customed roof and porch to greet;
The mockbird showed its varied skill; At evening moaned the whippoorwill.
Type of the spring from winter's gloom!
The butterfly new being found; Whilst round the pink may-apple's bloom,
Gave myriad drinking bees their sound.
Great fleeting clouds the pigeons made;
When near her brood the hunter strayed
With trailing limp the partridge stirred;
Whilst a quick, feathered spangle shot
Rapid as thought from spot to spot Showing the fairy humming-bird.
Sweet sylvan lake! in memory's gold
Is set the time, when first my eye From thy green shore beheld thee hold
Thy min or to the sunset sky! No ripple brushed its delicate air, Rich silken tints alone were there; The far opposing shore displayed, Mingling its hues, a tender shade; A sail scarce seeming to the sight To move, spread there its pinion white,
Like some pure spirit stealing on
Its gentle peace within him steal,
Before His radiance, beauty still
Each feeling of my soul refined,
Then, contrast wild, I saw the cloud
The next day rear its sable crest, And heard with awe the thunder loud
Come crashing o'er thy blackening breast.
Down swooped the eagle of the blast, One mass of foam was tossing high, Whilst the red lightnings, fierce and fast,
Shot from the wild and scowling
And burst in dark and mighty train
And birds so filled with melodies. Still swept the wind with keener shriek,
The tossing waters higher rolled. Still fiercer flashed the lightning's streak,
Still gloomier frowned the tempest's fold.
Ah, such, ah, such is life, I sighed,
Now it reflects the radiant pride
Earth's future track an Eden seems Brighter than e'en our brightest dreams.
Again, the tempest rushes o'er,
Sweet sylvan lake! beside thee now, Villages point their spires to heaven.
Rich meadows wave, broad grainfields Imw, The axe resounds, the plough is driven:
Down verdant points come herds to drink,
Flocks strew, like spots of snow, thy brink;
The frequent farm-house meets the sight,
Mid failing harvests scythes are bright.
The watch-dog's bark comes faint
from far, Shakes on the ear the saw-mill's jar, The steamer like a darting bird
Parts the rich emerald of the wave, And the gay song and laugh are
But all is o'er the Indian's grave. Pause, white man! check thy onward stride!
Cease o'er the flood thy prow to guide!
Until is given one sigh sincere
And prayer is made beseeching God
Trample us down upon the spot.
Like leaves upon the rushing blast.
Sweet sylvan lake! one single gem
Is in thy liquid diadem.
No sister has this little isle
To give its beauty smile for smile;
With it to hear the blue-bird sing;
"Wake, leaves, wake, w here
comes the spring!" With it to weave for summer's
Mosses below and bowers o'erbead; With it to flash to gorgeous skies The opal pomp of autumn skies; And when stern winter's tempests blow
To shrink beneath his robes of snow.
Sweet sylvan lake! that isle of thine Is like one hope through grief to shine:
Is like one tie our life to cheer;
A FOREST WALK.
A lovely sky. a cloudless sun,
O'er hill, through dale, my steps have run
To the cool forest's shadowy bowers;
One of the paths all round that wind. Traced by the browsing herds, I choose.
And sights and sounds of human kind In Nature's lone recesses lose:
The beech displays its marbled bark. The spruce its green tent stretches wide.
While scowls the hemlock grim and dark.
The maple's scalloped dome beside. All weave on high a verdant roof That keeps the very sun aloof. Making a twilight soft and green Within the columned, vaulted scene.
Sweet forest-odors have their birth From the clothed boughs and teeming earth; Where pine-cones dropped, leaves piled and dead Long tufts of grass, and stars of term
With many a wild flower's fairy inn,
A thick, elastic carpet spread: Here, with its mossy pall, the trunk, Besolving into soil, is sunk; There, wrenched but lately from its throne
By some fierce whirlwind circling past,
Its huge roots massed with earth and stone,
One of the woodland kings is cast.
Above, the forest-tips are bright With the broad blaze of sunny light; But now a fitful air-gust patts
The screening branches, and a glow Of dazzling, startling radiance darts
Down the dark stems, and breaks below:
The mingled shadows off are rolled. The sylvan floor is bathed in gold;
Low sprouts and herbs, before unseen
Display their shades of brown and green:
Tints brighten o'er the velvet moss,
And,as my shadow prints the ground,
He watches while I saunter by.
A narrow vista, carpeted
Here showers the light in golden dots,
Afar has sounded in my ear, Ceasing his beatings as I come, Whirs to the sheltering branches near;
The little milk-snake glides away, The brindled marmot dives from day; And now, between the boughs, a space
Of the blue, laughing sky, I trace: On each side shrinks the bowery shade;
Before me spreads an emerald glade; The sunshine steeps its grass and moss;
That couch my footsteps as I cross;
Here stretched, the pleasant turf I press
In luxury of idleness; Sun-streaks, and glancing wings, and sky
Spotted with cloud-shapes charm my eye:
While murmuring grass and waving trees —
Their leaf-harps sounding to the
breeze — And water-tones that tinkle near, Blend their sweet music to my ear; And by the changing shades alone, The passage of the hours is known.
THE IlLUK-lllRD'S SONG.
HARK, that sweet carol! With delight
We leave the stifling room; The little bluebird meets our sight,—
Spring, glorious spring, has come! The south-wind's balm is in the air, (where The melting snow-wreaths every
Are leaping off in showers; And Nature, in her brightening looks, Tells that her flowers, and leaves, and brooks,
And birds, will soon be ours.
[From " The Nook in the Forest."]
The branches arch and shape a pleasant bower,
Breaking white cloud, blue sky, and sunshine bright
Into pure ivory and sapphire spots.
And flecks of gold; a soft, cool emerald tint
Colors the air, as though the delicate leaves
Emitted self-born light. What splendid walls.
And what a gorgeous roof, carved by the hand
Of glorious Nature! Here the spruce
thrusts in Its bristling plume, tipped with its
pale-green points; The hemlock shows its borders
freshly fringed; The smoothly-scalloped beech-leaf
and the birch, Cut into ragged edges, interface: While here and there, through clefts,
the laurel hangs Its gorgeous chalices half-brimmed