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I FILL this cup to one made up of loveliness alone,
A woman, of her gentle sex the seeming paragon ;
To whom the better elements and kindly stars have given
A form so fair, that, like the air, 'tis less of earth than heaven.
Her every tone is music's own, like those of morning birds, And something more than melody dwells ever in her words ; The coinage of her heart are they, and from her lips each flows As one may see the burthened bee forth issue from the rose.
Affections are as thoughts to her, the measures of her hours ;
Her feelings have the fragrancy, the freshness of young flowers;
And lovely passions, changing oft, so fill her, she appears
The image of themselves by turns,—the idol of past years.
Of her bright face one glance will trace a picture on the brain, And of her voice in echoing hearts a sound must long remain ; But memory such as mine of her so very much endears, When death is nigh my latest sigh will not be life's but hers.
I filled this cup to one made up of loveliness alone,
A woman, of her gentle sex the seeming paragon-
Her health! and would on earth there stood some more of such
That life might be all poetry, and weariness a name.
How may this little tablet feign the features of a face,
Which o'er-informs with loveliness its proper share of space ;
Or human hands on ivory enable us to see
The charms that all must wonder at, thou work of gods, in thee!
But yet, methinks, that sunny smile familiar stories tells,
And I should know those placid eyes, two shaded crystal wells ;
Nor can my soul, the limner's art attesting with a sigh,
Forget the blood that decked thy cheek, as rosy clouds the sky.
They could not semble what thou art, more excellent than fair,
As soft as sleep or pity is, and pure as mountain air ;
But here are common, earthly hues, to such an aspect wrought,
That none, save thine, can seem so like the beautiful of thought.
The song I sing, thy likeness like, is painful mimicry
Of something better, which is now a memory to me,
Who have upon life's frozen sea arrived the icy spot,
Where men's magnetic feelings show their guiding task forgot.
The sportive hopes, that used to chase their shifting shadows on,
Like children playing in the sun, are gone—for ever gone ;
And on a careless, sullen peace, my double-fronted mind,
Like Janus when his gates were shut, looks forward and behind.
Apollo placed his harp, of old, awhile upon a stone,
Which has resounded since, when struck, a breaking harp-
string's tone ; And thus my heart, though wholly now from early softness free, If touched, will yield the music yet it first received of thee.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there ;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And Mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap;
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher ! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! and Viren!
On, Comet ! on, Cupid ! on, Donder and Blitzen !
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall !
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all !"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof-
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot ;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedlar just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS.
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow ;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath,
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself ;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread ;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away tı y all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
· Happy Christ nas to all, and to all a good-night !"