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Twilight gathers, and day is done — How hast thou spent it—restless one?

Playing? But what hast thou done beside,

To tell thy mother at eventide? What promise of morn is left unbroken?

What kind word to thy playmate spoken?

Whom hast thou pitied, and whom

forgiven? How with thy faults has duty striven? What hast thou learned by field and


By greenwood path, and by singing rill?

There will come an eve to a longer day,

That will" find thee tired — but not of play?

And thou wilt lean, as thou leanest now,

With drooping limbs and aching brow,

And wish the shadows would faster creep,

And long to go to thy quiet sleep. Well were it then if thine aching brow

Were as free from sin and shame as now!

Well for thee if thy lip could tell A tale like this of a day spent well;

If thine open hand hath relieved distress,

If thy pity hath sprung to wretchedness;

If thou hast forgiven the sore offence, And humbled thy heart with penitence;

If Nature' s voices have spoken to thee

With her holy meanings eloquently;

If every creature hath won thy love, From the creeping worm to the brooding dove; If never the sad, low-spoken word Hath plead with thy human heart unheard,—

Then, when the night steals on, as now,

It will bring relief to thine aching brow,

And, with joy and peace at the

thought of rest, Thou wilt sink to sleep on thy

mother's breast.


We've gathered to your place of prayer

With slow and measured tread: Your ranks are full, your mates all there —

But the soul of one has fled.
He was the proudest in his strength,

The manliest of ye all;
Why lies he at that fearful length,

And ye around his pall?

Ye reckon it in days, since he
Strode up that foot-worn aisle,

With his dark eye flashing gloriously,
And his lip wreathed with a smile.

Oh. had it been but told you then, To mark whose lamp was dim —

From out yon rank of fresh-lipped men,

Would ye have singled him?

Whose was the sinewy arm that flung

Defiance to the ring? Whose laugh of victory loudest rung—

Yet not for glorying? Whose heart, in generous deed and thought,

No rivalry might brook,
And yet distinction claiming not?

There lies he — go and look!

On now — his requiem is done.

The last deep prayer is said — On to his burial, comrades — on,

With a friend and brother dead! Slow — for it presses heavily —

It is a man ye bear! Slow, for our thoughts dwell wearily

On the gallant sleeper there.

Tread lightly, comrades! — we have laid

His dark locks on his brow — Like life — save deeper light and shade:

We'll not disturb them now. Tread lightly — for 'tis beautiful.

That blue-veined eyelid's sleep, Hiding the eye, death left so dull —

Its slumber we will keep.

Rest now! his journeying is done —

Your feet are on his sod — Death's blow has felled your champion —

He waiteth here his God. Ay — turn and weep —'tis manliness

To be heart-broken here — For the grave of one, the best of us,

Is watered by the tear.

TO OtULlA GlilSt.


When the rose is brightest,
Its bloom will soonest die;

When burns the meteor brightest,
'Twill vanish from the sky.

If Death but wait until delight
O'ertun the heart, like wine,

And break the cup when brimming quite,

I die — for thou hast poured to-night The last drop into mine.


The shadows lay along Broadway,
'Twas near the twilight-tide —

And slowly there a lady fair
Was walking in her pride.

Alone walked she; but, viewlessly,
Walked spirits at her side.

Peace charmed the street beneath her


And Honor charmed the air; And all astir looked kind on her,

And called her good as fair — For all God ever gave to her

She kept with chary care.

She kept with care her beauties rare

From lovers warm and true — For her heart was cold to all but gold,

And the rich came not to woo — But honored well are charms to sell If priests the selling do.

Now walking there was one more
fair —
A slight girl, lily-pale;
And she had unseen company
To make the spirit quail —
'Twixt Want and Scorn she walked
And nothing could avail.

No mercy now can clear her brow
For this world's peace to pray;
For, as love's wild prayer dissolved
in air,

Her woman's heart gave way! —
But the sin forgiven by Christ in
By man is cursed alway!


On the cross-beam under the Old

South bell The nest of a pigeon is builded


In summer and winter that bird is there,

Out and in with the morning air:
I love to see him track the street,
With his wary eye and active feet;
And I often watch him as he springs,
Circling the steeple with easy wings,
Till across the dial his shade has

And the belfry edge is gained at last. 'Tis a bird I love, with its brooding note,

And the trembling throb in its mottled throat;

There's a human look in its swelling breast,

And the gentle curve of its lowly crest;

And I often stop with the fear I feel— He runs so close to the rapid wheel.

Whatever is rung on that noisy bell —

Chime of the hour or funeral knell — The dove in the belfry must hear it well.

When the tongue swings out to the

midnight moon — When the sexton cheerily rings for

noon —

When the clock strikes clear at morning light,

When the child is waked with "nine

at night"— When the chimes play soft in the

Sabbath air,
Filling the spirit with tones of prayer;
Whatever tale in the bell is heard,
He broods on his folded feet unstirred,
Or, rising half in his rounded nest,
He takes the time to smooth his breast,
Then drops again with filmed eyes,
And sleeps as the last vibration dies.

Sweet bird! I would that I could be
A hermit in the crowd like thee!
With wings to fly to wood and glen,
Thy lot, like mine, is cast with men;
And daily, with unwilling feet,
I tread, like thee, the crowded street;
But, unlike thee, when day is o'er,
Thou canst dismiss the world and

Or, at a half-felt wish for rest,
Canst smooth the feathers on thy

And drop, forgetful, to thy nest.

from "ABSALOM."

"Alas! my noble boy! that thou shouldest die! Thou, who wert made so beautifully fair! That Death should settle in thy glorious eye, And leave his stillness in this clustering hair!

How could he mark thee for the silent tomb? My proud boy, Absalom!

"Cold is thy brow, my son! and I am chill,

As to my bosom I have tried to press thee!

How was I wont to feel my pulses thrill,

Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress thee, And hear thy sweet 'my father!' from these dumb And cold lips, Absalom!

"But death is on thee. I shall hear the gush

Of music, and the voices of the young;

And life will pass me in the mantling blush,

And the dark tresses to the soft winds flung; — But thou no more, with thy sweet voice, shalt come To meet me, Absalom!

"And oh! when I am stricken, and my heart, Like a bruised reed, is waiting to be broken,

How will its love for thee, as I depart, Yearn for thine ear to drink its last deep token! It were so sweet, amid death's gathering gloom, To see thee, Absalom!

"And now, farewell! 'Tis hard to give thee up, With death so like a gentle slumber on thee;— And thy dark sin! — Oh! I could drink the cup, If from this woe its bitterness had won thee. May God have called thee, like a wanderer, home, My lost boy, Absalom!"



"Come a little nearer, doctor, — thank you, — let me take the cup;
Draw your chair up, — draw it closer, — just another little sup!
May be you may think I'm better; but I'm pretty well used up, —
Doctor, you've done all you could do, but I'm just a going up!

"Feel my pulse, sir, if you want to, but it ain't much use to try " —
"Never say that," said the surgeon, as he smothered down a sigh;
"It will never do, old comrade, for a soldier to say die!"
"What you say will make no difference, doctor, when you come to die.

"Doctor, what has been the matter?" "You were very faint, they say;
You must try to get to sleep now." "Doctor, have I been away?"
"Not that anybody knows of!" "Doctor, — Doctor, please to stay!
There is something I must tell you, and you won't have long to stay I

"I have got my marching orders, and I'm ready now to go;
Doctor, did you say I fainted ? — but it couldn't ha' been so, —
For as sure as I'm a sergeant, and was wounded at Shiloh,
I've this very night been back there, on the old field of Shiloh!

"This is all that I remember: The last time the lighter came,
And the lights had all been lowered, and the noises much the same,
He had not been gone five minutes before something called my name:
'Orderly Sergeant — Robert Burton!' — just that\vay it called my name.

"And I wondered who could call me so distinctly and so slow,
Knew it couldn't be the lighter, — he could not have spoken so, —
And I tried to answer, 'Here, sir!' but I couldn't make it go;
For I couldn't move a muscle, and I couldn't make it go!

"Then I thought: It's all a nightmare, all a humbug and a bore:
Just another foolish grapevine, — and it won't come any more;
But it came, sir, notwithstanding, just the same way as before:
'Orderly Sergeant — Kobert Burton!' — even plainer than before:

"That is all that I remember, till a sudden burst of light,
And I stood beside the river, where we stood that Sunday night,
Waiting to be ferried over to the dark bluffs opposite,
When the river was perdition and all hell was opposite!

"And the same old palpitation came again in all its power,
And I heard a bugle sounding, as from some celestial tower;
And the same mysterious voice said: 'It is the eleventh hour!
Orderly Sergeant — Robert Burton — it is the eleventh hour!'

v Doctor Austin! what day is this?" "It is Wednesday night, you know." "Yes, —to-morrow will be New Year's, and a right good time below! What time is it, Doctor Austin?" "Nearly twelve." "Then don't you go! Can it be that all this happened — all this—not an hour ago?

"There was where the gunboats opened on the dark rebellious host;
And where Webster semicircled his last guns upon the coast;
There were still the two log-houses, just the same, or else their ghost, —
And the same old transport came and took me over — or its ghost!

"And the old field lay before me all deserted far and wide;
There was where they fell on Prentiss, —there McClernand met the tide;
There was where stern Sherman rallied, and where Hurlburt's heroes died,—
Lower down, where Wallace charged them, and kept charging till he died.

"There was where Lew Wallace showed them he was of the canny kin,
There was where old Nelson thundered, and where Rousseau waded in;
There McCook sent 'em to breakfast, and we all began to win, — was where the grape-shot took me, just as we began to win.

"Now a shroud of snow and silence over everything was spread;
And but for this old blue mantle and the old hat on my head,
I should not have even doubted, to this moment, I was dead, —
For my footsteps were as silent as the snow upon the dead!

"Death and silence! — Death and silence! all around me as I spedl
And behold, a mighty tower, as if builded to the dead,
To the heaven of the heavens lifted up its mighty head,
Till the Stars and Stripes of heaven all seemed waving from its head!

"Round and mighty-based it towered, — up into the infinite, —
And I knew no mortal mason could have built a shaft so bright;
For it shone like solid sunshine; and a winding-stair of light
Wound around it and around it till it wound clear out of sight!

"And, behold, as I approached it, with a rapt and dazzled stare, — Thinking that I saw old comrades just ascending the great stair, Suddenly the solemn challenge broke, of —' Halt, and who goes there!' 'I'm a friend,' I said, 'if you are.' 'Then advance, sir, to the stair!'

"I advanced! That sentry, doctor, was Elijah Ballantyne! — First of all to fall on Monday, after we had formed the line! — 'Welcome, my old sergeant, welcome! Welcome by that countersign!' And he pointed to the scar there, under this old cloak of mine!

"As he grasped my hand, I shuddered, thinking only of the grave;
But he smiled and pointed upward with a bright and bloodless glaive;
'That's the way, sir, to headquarters.' What headquarters ?' Of the brave.'
'But the great tower?' 'That,' he answered, 'is the way, sir, of the

"Then a sudden shame came o'er me, at his uniform of light;
At my own so old and tattered, and at his so new and bright:
'Ah!' said he, 'you have forgotten the new uniform to-night, —
Hurry back, for you must be here at just twelve o'clock to-night!'

"And the next thing I remember, you were sitting there, and I —
Doctor, — did you hear a footstep? Hark! — God bless you all! Good-by!
Doctor, please to give my musket and my knapsack, when I die,
To my son — my son that's coming, — he won't get here till I die!

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