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And better so; for were the bowl
Too freely to the parched Up given, Too much of grief would crush the soul,
Too much of joy would wean from heaven.
The sun of life has crossed the line;
The summer-shine of lengthened light Faded and failed — till, where I stand,
'T is equal day and equal night.
One after one, as dwindling hours,
And soon may barely leave the gleam
I am not young — I am not old;
The flush of morn, the sunset calm, Paling and deepening, each to each,
Meet midway with a solemn charm.
One side I see the summer fields,
Not yet disrobed of all their green; While westerly, along the hills,
Flame the first tints of frosty sheen.
Ah, middle-point, where cloud and storm
Where, even-matched, the night and day
I bow me to the threatening gale:
I know when that is overpast, Among the peaceful harvest days
An Indian Summer comes at last.
Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney.
Once on my mother's breast, a child, I crept,
Holding my breath;
At the dark mystery of Death.
Weary and weak, and worn with all unrest,
Spent with the strife,—
At the sad mystery of Life!
William Dean Howells. RUTH
She stood breast high amid the corn,
On her cheek an autumn flush
Round her eyes her tresses fell,—
And her hat, with shady brim,
Sure, I said, heaven did not mean
THE LATE SPRING
She stood alone amidst the April fields —
"The Spring is late," she said, "the faithless Spring,
"Their sweet South left too soon; among the trees,
The birds, bewildered, flutter to and fro;
Of last year's April had deceived them so."
She watched the homeless birds, the slow, sad Spring,
"Thus God has dealt with me, his child," she said;
"To them will come the fullness of their time;
Their Spring, though late, will make the meadows fair; Shall I, who wait like them, like them be blessed?
I am his own,— doth not my Father care?"
Louise Chandler Moulton. THOUGHT
Thought is deeper than all speech,
Feeling deeper than all thought;
What unto themselves was taught.
We are spirits clad in veils;
Man by man was never seen;
To remove the shadowy screen.
Heart to heart was never known;
Mind with mind did never meet;
Of a temple once complete.
Like the stars that gem the sky,
Far apart, though seeming near,
All is thus but starlight here.
What is social company
But a babbling summer stream?
But the glancing of a dream?
Only when the sun of love
Melts the scattered stars of thought,
Only when we live above
Only when our souls are fed
And by inspiration led
We, like parted drops of rain,
Swelling till they meet and run,
Melting, flowing into one.
Christopher Pearse Cranch.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide;
"Doth God exact day labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask ; but Patience, to prevent
NIGHT AND DEATH
Mysterious night! when our first parent knew
Joseph Blanco White.
THE CLOSING SCENE
Within the sober realm of leafless trees,
Like some tanned reaper, in his hour of ease,
The gray barns looking from their hazy hills,
Sent down the air a greeting to the mills
All sights were mellowed and all sounds subdued;
The hills seemed farther and the stream sang low, As in a dream the distant woodman hewed
His winter log with many a muffled blow.
The embattled forests, erewhile armed with gold,
Now stood like some sad, beaten host of old,
On slumb'rous wings the vulture held his flight;
The dove scarce heard its sighing mate's complaint; And, like a star slow drowning in the light,
The village church-vane seemed to pale and faint.
The sentinel-cock upon the hillside crew,—
Silent, till some replying warden blew
Where erst the jay, within the elm's tall crest,
Andd where the oriole hung her swaying nest,
Where sang the noisy martens of the eaves,
Foreboding, as the rustic mind believes,
Where every bird which charmed the vernal feast
To warn the reaper of the rosy east,—
Alone from out the stubble piped the quail,
Alone the pheasant, drumming in the vale,
There was no bud, no bloom upon the bowers;
The spiders moved their thin shrouds night by night, The thistle-down, the only ghost of flowers,
Sailed slowly by — passed noiseless out of sight.
Amid all this — in this most cheerless air,
Its crimson leaves, as if the Year stood there
Amid all this, the centre of the scene,
The white-haired matron with monotonous tread Plied the swift wheel, and with her joyless mien
Sat, like a fate, and watched the flying thread.
She had known Sorrow,— he had walked with her,
And in the dead leaves still she heard the stir
While yet her cheek was bright with summer bloom,
And twice War bowed to her his sable plume —