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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
THE BURIAL OF THE CHAMPION OF HIS CLASS.
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.
The manliest of ye all;
And ye around his pall?
Ye reckon it in days, since he
With his dark eye flashing gloriously,
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,
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.
AFTER HEARING HER I.N "ANNA BO-
When the rose is brightest,
When burns the meteor brightest,
If Death but wait until delight
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,
And slowly there a lady fair
Alone walked she; but, viewlessly,
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
No mercy now can clear her brow
Her woman's heart gave way! —
THE BELFRY P1GEON.
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:
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
When the clock strikes clear at morning light,
When the child is waked with "nine
at night"— When the chimes play soft in the
Sweet bird! I would that I could be
Or, at a half-felt wish for rest,
And drop, forgetful, to thy nest.
"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!"
THE OLD SERGEANT.
"Come a little nearer, doctor, — thank you, — let me take the cup;
"Feel my pulse, sir, if you want to, but it ain't much use to try " —
"Doctor, what has been the matter?" "You were very faint, they say;
"I have got my marching orders, and I'm ready now to go;
"This is all that I remember: The last time the lighter came,
"And I wondered who could call me so distinctly and so slow,
"Then I thought: It's all a nightmare, all a humbug and a bore:
"That is all that I remember, till a sudden burst of light,
"And the same old palpitation came again in all its power,
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 the old field lay before me all deserted far and wide;
"There was where Lew Wallace showed them he was of the canny kin,
"Now a shroud of snow and silence over everything was spread;
"Death and silence! — Death and silence! all around me as I spedl
"Round and mighty-based it towered, — up into the infinite, —
"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;
"Then a sudden shame came o'er me, at his uniform of light;
"And the next thing I remember, you were sitting there, and I —