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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.

Egbert Phelps.

EQUINOCTIAL

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,
Youth's glowing hopes have dropped away,

And soon may barely leave the gleam
That coldly scores a winter's day.

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
Make battle-ground of this my life!

Where, even-matched, the night and day
Wage round me their September strife.

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.

THE MYSTERIES

Once on my mother's breast, a child, I crept,

Holding my breath;
There, safe and sad, lay shuddering, and wept

At the dark mystery of Death.

Weary and weak, and worn with all unrest,

Spent with the strife,—
O mother, let me weep upon thy breast

At the sad mystery of Life!

William Dean Howells. RUTH

She stood breast high amid the corn,
Clasped by the golden light of morn,
Like the sweetheart of the sun,
Who many a glowing kiss had won.

On her cheek an autumn flush
Deeply ripened; — such a blush
In the midst of brown was born,
Like red poppies grown with corn.

Round her eyes her tresses fell,—
Which were blackest none could tell:
But long lashes veiled a light
That had else been all too bright.

And her hat, with shady brim,
Made her tressy forehead dim ;—
Thus she stood amid the stooks,
Praising God with sweetest looks.

Sure, I said, heaven did not mean
Where I reap thou shouldst but glean;
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.

Thomas Hood.

THE LATE SPRING

She stood alone amidst the April fields —
Brown, sodden fields, all desolate and bare.

"The Spring is late," she said, "the faithless Spring,
That should have come to make the meadows fair.

"Their sweet South left too soon; among the trees,

The birds, bewildered, flutter to and fro;
For them no green boughs wait,— their memories

Of last year's April had deceived them so."

She watched the homeless birds, the slow, sad Spring,
The barren fields, and shivering, naked trees,

"Thus God has dealt with me, his child," she said;
"I wait my Spring-time, and am cold like these.

"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;
Souls to souls can never teach

What unto themselves was taught.

We are spirits clad in veils;

Man by man was never seen;
All our deep communing fails

To remove the shadowy screen.

Heart to heart was never known;

Mind with mind did never meet;
We are columns left alone

Of a temple once complete.

Like the stars that gem the sky,

Far apart, though seeming near,
In our light we scattered lie;

All is thus but starlight here.

What is social company

But a babbling summer stream?
What our wise philosophy

But the glancing of a dream?

Only when the sun of love

Melts the scattered stars of thought,

Only when we live above
What the dim-eyed world hath taught,

Only when our souls are fed
By the fount which gave them birth,

And by inspiration led
Which they never drew from earth,

We, like parted drops of rain,

Swelling till they meet and run,
Shall be all absorbed again,

Melting, flowing into one.

Christopher Pearse Cranch.

BLINDNESS

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
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state
Is kingly ; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

John Milton.

NIGHT AND DEATH

Mysterious night! when our first parent knew
Thee from report Divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
This glorious canopy of light and blue?
Yet, 'neath a curtain of translucent dew,
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus, with the host of heaven, came,
And lo! creation widened in man's view.
Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy beams, O sun! or who could find,
Whilst fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind?
Why do we, then, shun death with anxious strife?
If light can thus deceive, wherefore not life?

Joseph Blanco White.

THE CLOSING SCENE

Within the sober realm of leafless trees,
The russet year inhaled the dreamy air;

Like some tanned reaper, in his hour of ease,
When all the fields are lying brown and bare.

The gray barns looking from their hazy hills,
O'er the dun waters widening in the vales,

Sent down the air a greeting to the mills
On the dull thunder of alternate flails.

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,
Their banners bright with every martial hue,

Now stood like some sad, beaten host of old,
Withdrawn afar in Time's remotest blue.

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,—
Crew thrice,— and all was stiller than before;

Silent, till some replying warden blew
His alien horn, and then was heard no more.

Where erst the jay, within the elm's tall crest,
Made garrulous trouble round her unfledged young;

Andd where the oriole hung her swaying nest,
By every light wind like a censer swung; —

Where sang the noisy martens of the eaves,
The busy swallows circling ever near,—

Foreboding, as the rustic mind believes,
An early harvest and a plenteous year ; —

Where every bird which charmed the vernal feast
Shook the sweet slumber from its wings at morn,

To warn the reaper of the rosy east,—
All now was sunless, empty, and forlorn.

Alone from out the stubble piped the quail,
And croaked the crow through all the dreamy gloom

Alone the pheasant, drumming in the vale,
Made echo to the distant cottage-loom.

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,
And where the woodbine shed upon the porch

Its crimson leaves, as if the Year stood there
Firing the floor with his inverted torch,—

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,
Oft supped, and broke the bitter ashen crust;

And in the dead leaves still she heard the stir
Of his black mantle trailing in the dust.

While yet her cheek was bright with summer bloom,
Her country summoned, and she gave her all;

And twice War bowed to her his sable plume —
Re-gave the swords to rust upon the wall:

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