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The den they enter grows a shrine,
The grimy sash an oriel burns, Their cup of water warms like wine,
Their speech is filled from heavenly urns.
About their brows to me appears
An aureole traced in tenderest light,
In dying eyes, by them made bright,
Of that chill ford repassed no more, And in their mercy felt the pledge And sweetness of the farther shore.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWEI.L.
GOOD LIFE, LONG LIFE.
In bulk, doth make men better be; Or standing long, an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere.
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May;
I WILL ARISE.
WHO, toiling on the weary round of life,
But feels sometimes,—when all the way is dark, And mists of sense and clouds of weariness Close round him, and before him stretches out Life's journey, an interminable moor, And all the future like a barren road Through the long waste of years,-lo, suddenly The mists rise like a curtain, and he knows The presence of the everlasting hills; Height after height, peak after peak revealed; The filmy downward cataract, the chill Unearthly whiteness of untrodden snows; And, somewhere in the space ’twixt them and heaven, The eagle circling sunward! So his soul Knows it must quit the smooth ignoble paths, To tread on rugged heights, scale precipices, Sway on the trembling bridge which spans the foam, Creep where the thund'rous avalanche sweeps, the bolt Shivers the patient rocks, feel the mad winds Rush round him like a chaos. If he know Something of new-born joy, yet is it dashed With craven chills of fear; fain would he climb, But looking upward dare not. Then, perchance, Shines out athwart the gathered clouds of sense The great sun's awful face; and lo! the snows Which erewhile showed so cold, so deadly calm, Redden with a blush of life ; the light reveals, High on the scarped cliffs, the giddy paths
Where men have trodden and lived. Then his whole
soul, Stirred to the deeps of passionate utterance, Cries loud, ‘I will arise, I will arise ;' And, while the sun shines, climbs. Happy are they On whom the clouds descend not to blot out What glimpse they had of heaven. Some men there be Who, toiling through the mist, ne'er see the sun, And live a slavish life and know it not, And die, poor souls ! i' the plain. Others there be Who, when in some chance ray they fain would rise, The envious clouds shut out the face of heaven, And they may mount no higher. Fewer still Girding their loins, without a glance behind, Mount ever upward in that mystical light, Above the earth's gross humours, till the air Grows purer, and the paths which seemed so steep, Are smoothed before them and they tread the snows, Where other footsteps few and rare shall come In the efflux of the ages-storm and cloud Left far beneath ; God shining overhead; And round them all the changeless calm of Heaven.
SONGS OF Two WORLDS.
FLOWERS WITHOUT FRUIT.
That o'er thee swell and throng ;
Ant change to purpose strong.
But he who lets his feelings run
In soft luxurious flow,
And faints at every woe.
Faith's meanest deed more favour bears,
Where hearts and wills are weighed,
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN.
WORK AND CONTEMPLATION.
A pleasant chant, ballad or barcarole ;
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL. IT T chanced upon the merry merry Christmas eve, I went sighing past the church across the moor
land drearyOh! never sin and want and woe this earth will leave, And the bells but mock the wailing round, they sing
so cheery. How long, O Lord! how long before Thou come again?
Still in cellar, and in garret, and on moorland dreary The orphans moan, and widows weep, and poor men
toil in vain, Till earth is sick of hope deferred, though Christ
mas bells be cheery.' Then arose a joyous clamour from the wild-fowl on
Beneath the stars, across the snow, like clear
bells ringing, And a voice within cried - Listen ! Christmas carols
even here! Though thou be dumb, yet o'er their work the
stars and snows are singing. Blind ! I live, I love, I reign ; and all the nations
through With the thunder of my judgments even now are
ringing; Do thou fulfil thy work but as yon wild-fowl do, Thou wilt heed no less the wailing, yet hear thro' it angels singing.'