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FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS.
And the voices of the night
To a holy, calm delight;
And, like phantoms grim and tall,
Dance upon the parlor wall;
Enter at the open door;
Come to visit me once more.
Noble longings for the strife,
Weary with the march of life! They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more ! And with them the being beauteous,
Who unto my youth was given, More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven. With a slow and noiseless footstep,
Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me,
Lays her gentle hand in mine. And she sits and gazes at me,
With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saintlike,
Looking downward from the skies, Uttered not, yet comprehended,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer,
Breathing from her lips of air.
All my fears are laid aside,
Such as these have lived and died ! H. W. LONGFELLOW.
Who hath not lost a friend ?
That finds not here an end :
Beyond this vale of death,
Where life is not a breath;
Where parting is unknown,
Formed for the good alone;
Till all have passed away,
To pure and perfect day;
LESSON I X.
Little Ellie sits alone 'Mid the beeches of a meadow,
By a stream side, on the grass;
And the trees are showering down Doubles of their leaves in shadow,
On her shining hair and face.
She has thrown her bonnet by, And her feet she has been dipping
In the shallow water's flow;
Now she holds them nakedly,
While she rocketh to and fro.
Little Ellie sits alone;
Fills the silence like a speech,
For her future within reach.
Little Ellie in her smile Chooseth,—“I will have a lover,
Riding on a steed of steeds:
He shall love me without guile, And to him I will discover
That swan's nest among the reeds.
“ And the steed shall be red-roan, And the lover shall be noble,
With an eye that takes the breath ;
And the lute he plays upon, Shall strike ladies into trouble,
As his sword strikes men to death.
" And the steed it shall be shod All in silver, housed in azure,
And the mane shall swim the wind,
And the hoofs along the sod, Shall flash onward in a pleasure,
Till the shepherds look behind. 66 But my lover will not prize All the glory that he rides in,
When he gazes on my face,
He will say, O Love, thine eyes Build the shrine my soul abides in;
And I kneel here for thy grace.'
“ Then, ay, then, he shall kneel low, With the red-roan steed anear him,
Which shall seem to understand,
Till I answer, · Rise and go!
Whom I gift with heart and hand.'
66 Then he will arise so pale, I shall feel my own lips tremble
With a yes I must not say.
Nathless, maiden-brave, · Farewell,' I will utter and dissemble,
• Light to-morrow with to-day.' 6. Then he will ride through the hills To the wide world past the river,
There to put away all wrong,
To make straight distorted wills, And to empty the broad quiver
Which the wicked bear along.
“ Three times shall a young foot-page Swim the stream, and climb the mountain, And kneel down beside my feet;
Lo! my master sends this gage, Lady, for thy pity's counting!
What wilt thou exchange for it?'
“ And the first time, I will send A white rose-bud for a guerdon ;
And the second time, a glove;
But the third time, I may bend
If he comes to take my love.'
Till he kneeleth at my knee. "I am a duke's eldest son, Thousand serfs do call me master,
But, O Love! I love but thee.'
“ He will kiss me on the mouth Then; and lead me as a lover
Through the crowds that praise his deeds;
And, when soul-tied by one troth, Unto him I will discover
That swan's nest among the reeds !"
Little Ellie, with her smile Not yet ended, rose up gayly,
Tied the bonnet, donned the shoe,
And went homeward, round, a mile, Just to see, as she did daily,
What more eggs were there than two.
Pushing through the elm-tree copse,
Where the osier path-way leads,
Past the boughs she stoops—and stops !
And a rat had gnawed the reeds!
Ellie went home, sad and slow!
With his red-roan steed of steeds,
Sooth, I know not! but I know,
Miss E. B. BARRET.
THE MOON AND STARS. On the fourth day of creation, when the sun, after a glorious, but solitary course, went down in the evening, and darkness began to gather over the face of the uninhabited globe, already arrayed in the exuberance of vegetation, and prepared by the diversity of land and water, for the abode of uncreated animals and man,-a star, single and beautiful, stepped forth into the firmament. Trembling with wonder and delight in new-found existence, she looked abroad, and beheld nothing in heaven or on earth resembling herself. But she was not long alone; now one, then another, here a third, and there a fourth resplendent companion had joined her, till, light after light stealing through the gloom, in the lapse of an hour the whole hemisphere was brilliantly bespangled.
The planets and stars, with a superb comet, flaming in the zenith, for a while contemplated themselves and each other; and every one, from the largest to the least, was so perfectly well pleased with himself, that he imagined the rest only partakers of his felicity; he being the central luminary of his own universe, and all the hosts of heaven besides displayed around him in graduated splendor. Nor were any undeceived in regard to themselves, though all saw their associates in their real situations and relative proportions ;-self-knowledge being the last knowledge acquired, either in the sky or below it;