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Title: Fugitive Poetry
Author: Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 1806-1867
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fugitive Poetry" ***

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                         FUGITIVE POETRY.



                         FUGITIVE POETRY:

                         BY N.P. WILLIS.

    "If, however, I can, by lucky chance, in these days of evil,
    rub out one wrinkle from the brow of care, or beguile the
    heavy heart of one moment of sorrow; if I can, now and then,
    penetrate the gathering film of misanthropy, prompt a
    benevolent view of human nature, and make my reader more in
    good humor with his fellow beings and himself, surely,
    surely, I shall not then have written entirely in vain."
    WASHINGTON IRVING.

                             BOSTON:
                PUBLISHED BY PEIRCE AND WILLIAMS.
                              1829.



               DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, _to wit_:

                                              DISTRICT CLERK'S OFFICE.

Be it remembered, that on the eleventh day of September, A.D. 1829, in
the fifty-fourth year of the Independence of the United States of
America, PEIRCE AND WILLIAMS, of the said district, have deposited in
this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as
proprietors in the words following, _to wit_:

"Fugitive Poetry: By N.P. WILLIS.

"'If, however, I can, by lucky chance, in these days of evil, rub out
one wrinkle from the brow of care, or beguile the heart of one moment of
sorrow; if I can, now and then, penetrate the gathering film of
misanthropy, prompt a benevolent view of human nature, and make my
reader more in good humor with his fellow beings, and himself, surely,
surely, I shall not then have written entirely in vain.' _Washington
Irving._"

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled
"An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of
maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies,
during the times therein mentioned;" and also to an Act entitled "An Act
supplementary to an Act, entitled 'An Act for the encouragement of
learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the
authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein
mentioned;' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing,
engraving, and etching historical and other prints."

                                JNO. W. DAVIS,} _Clerk of the District_
                                                  _of Massachusetts._



                          TO

                GEORGE JAMES PUMPELLY,

           MY BEST AND MOST VALUED FRIEND,

                THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

                            BY THE AUTHOR.



                             CONTENTS.


                                                                     Page.
  The Shunamite                                                          9

  Scene in Gethsemane                                                   13

  Contemplation                                                         15

  Sketch of a Schoolfellow                                              18

  Idleness                                                              21

  On the Death of Edward Payson D.D.                                    24

  The Tri-Portrait                                                      26

  January 1st, 1828                                                     29

  January 1st, 1829                                                     30

  Psyche, before the Tribunal of Venus                                  32

  On seeing a beautiful Boy at play                                     34

  The Child's first impression of a Star                                36

  Dedication Hymn                                                       37

  The Baptism                                                           38

  The Table of Emerald                                                  39

  The Annoyer                                                           42

  Starlight                                                             44

  Lassitude                                                             45

  Roaring Brook                                                         46

  The Declaration                                                       48

  Isabel                                                                49

  Mere Accident                                                         51

  The Earl's Minstrel                                                   53

  The Serenade                                                          57

  Hero                                                                  60

  April                                                                 62

  To ----                                                               64

  Twenty-two                                                            66

  On the Picture of a child playing. By FISHER.                         68

  To a sleeping Boy                                                     70

  Sonnet                                                                73

  Sonnet                                                                74

  Sonnet                                                                75

  Sonnet                                                                76

  Sonnet                                                                77

  Andre's Request                                                       78

  Discrimination                                                        79

  The Solitary                                                          80

  Lines on the death of Miss Fanny V. Apthorp                           82

  A Portrait                                                            83

  May                                                                   84

  On seeing through a window a Belle completing her Toilet for a Ball   86

  To a Belle                                                            88



                 FUGITIVE POETRY.



            THE SHUNAMITE.[A]


    It was a sultry day of summer time.
    The sun pour'd down upon the ripen'd grain
    With quivering heat, and the suspended leaves
    Hung motionless. The cattle on the hills
    Stood still, and the divided flock were all
    Laying their nostrils to the cooling roots,
    And the sky look'd like silver, and it seem'd
    As if the air had fainted, and the pulse
    Of nature had run down, and ceas'd to beat.

    'Haste thee, my child!' the Syrian mother said,
    'Thy father is athirst'--and from the depths
    Of the cool well under the leaning tree,
    She drew refreshing water, and with thoughts
    Of God's sweet goodness stirring at her heart,
    She bless'd her beautiful boy, and to his way
    Committed him. And he went lightly on,
    With his soft hands press'd closely to the cool
    Stone vessel, and his little naked feet
    Lifted with watchful care, and o'er the hills,
    And thro' the light green hollows, where the lambs
    Go for the tender grass, he kept his way,
    Wiling its distance with his simple thoughts,
    Till, in the wilderness of sheaves, with brows
    Throbbing with heat, he set his burden down.

    Childhood is restless ever, and the boy
    Stay'd not within the shadow of the tree,
    But with a joyous industry went forth
    Into the reapers' places, and bound up
    His tiny sheaves, and plaited cunningly
    The pliant withs out of the shining straw,
    Cheering their labor on, till they forgot
    The very weariness of their stooping toil
    In the beguiling of his earnest mirth.
    Presently he was silent, and his eye
    Closed as with dizzy pain, and with his hand
    Press'd hard upon his forehead, and his breast
    Heaving with the suppression of a cry,
    He uttered a faint murmur, and fell back
    Upon the loosen'd sheaf, insensible.

    They bore him to his mother, and he lay
    Upon her knees till noon--and then he died!
    She had watch'd every breath, and kept her hand
    Soft on his forehead, and gaz'd in upon
    The dreamy languor of his listless eye,
    And she had laid back all his sunny curls,
    And kiss'd his delicate lip, and lifted him
    Into her bosom, till her heart grew strong--
    His beauty was so unlike death! She leaned
    Over him now, that she might catch the low
    Sweet music of his breath, that she had learn'd
    To love when he was slumbering at her side
    In his unconscious infancy--
                          --"So still!
    'Tis a soft sleep! How beautiful he lies,
    With his fair forehead, and the rosy veins
    Playing so freshly in his sunny cheek!
    How could they say that he would die! Oh God!
    I could not lose him! I have treasured all
    His childhood in my heart, and even now,
    As he has slept, my memory has been there,
    Counting like ingots all his winning ways--
    His unforgotten sweetness--
                          --"Yet so still!--
    How like this breathless slumber is to death!
    I could believe that in that bosom now
    There were no pulse--it beats so languidly!
    I cannot see it stir; but his red lip!--
    Death would not be so very beautiful!
    And that half smile--would death have left _that_ there?
    --And should I not have felt that he would die?
    And have I not wept over him?--and prayed
    Morning and night for him?--and _could_ he die?
    --No--God will keep him. He will be my pride
    Many long years to come, and this fair hair
    Will darken like his father's, and his eye
    Be of a deeper blue when he is grown;
    And he will be so tall, and I shall look
    With such a pride upon him!--_He_ to die!"
    And the fond mother lifted his soft curls,
    And smiled, as if 'twere mockery to think
    That such fair things could perish--
                                --Suddenly
    Her hand shrunk from him, and the color fled
    From her fix'd lip, and her supporting knees
    Were shook beneath her child. Her hand had touch'd
    His forehead, as she dallied with his hair--
    And it was cold--like clay!--slow--very slow
    Came the misgiving that her child was dead.
    She sat a moment and her eyes were clos'd
    In a still prayer for strength, and then she took
    His little hand and press'd it earnestly--
    And put her lip to his--and look'd again
    Fearfully on him--and then, bending low,
    She whisper'd in his ear, "My son!--My son!"
    And as the echo died, and not a sound
    Broke on the stillness, and he lay there still,
    Motionless on her knee--the truth _would_ come!
    And with a sharp, quick cry, as if her heart
    Were crush'd, she lifted him and held him close
    Into her bosom--with a mother's thought--
    As if death had no power to touch him there!

           *       *       *       *       *

    The man of God came forth, and led the child
    Unto his mother, and went on his way.
    And he was there--her beautiful--her own--
    Living and smiling on her--with his arms
    Folded about her neck, and his warm breath
    Breathing upon her lips, and in her ear
    The music of his gentle voice once more!

    Oh for a burning word that would express
    The measure of a mother's holy joy,
    When God has given back to her her child
    From death's dark portal! It surpasseth words.

[Footnote A: 2 KINGS, iv. 18-37.]



            SCENE IN GETHSEMANE.


    The moon was shining yet. The Orient's brow,
    Set with the morning star, was not yet dim;
    And the deep silence which subdues the breath
    Like a strong feeling, hung upon the world
    As sleep upon the pulses of a child.
    'Twas the last watch of night. Gethsemane,
    With its bath'd leaves of silver, seem'd dissolv'd
    In visible stillness, and as Jesus' voice
    With its bewildering sweetness met the ear
    Of his disciples, it vibrated on
    Like the first whisper in a silent world.
    They came on slowly. Heaviness oppress'd
    The Saviour's heart, and when the kindnesses
    Of his deep love were pour'd, he felt the need
    Of near communion, for his gift of strength
    Was wasted by the spirit's weariness.
    He left them there, and went a little on,
    And in the depth of that hush'd silentness,
    Alone with God, he fell upon his face,
    And as his heart was broken with the rush
    Of his surpassing agony, and death,
    Wrung to him from a dying universe,
    Were mightier than the Son of man could bear,
    He gave his sorrows way, and in the deep
    Prostration of his soul, breathed out the prayer,
    "Father, if it be possible with thee,
    Let this cup pass from me." Oh, how a word,
    Like the forc'd drop before the fountain breaks,
    Stilleth the press of human agony!
    The Saviour felt its quiet in his soul;
    And though his strength was weakness, and the light
    Which led him on till now was sorely dim,
    He breathed a new submission--"Not my will,
    But thine be done, oh Father!" As he spoke,
    Voices were heard in heaven, and music stole
    Out from the chambers of the vaulted sky,
    As if the stars were swept like instruments.
    No cloud was visible, but radiant wings
    Were coming with a silvery rush to earth,
    And as the Saviour rose, a glorious one,
    With an illumin'd forehead, and the light
    Whose fountain is the mystery of God
    Encalm'd within his eye, bow'd down to him,
    And nerv'd him with a ministry of strength.
    It was enough--and with his godlike brow
    Re-written, of his Father's messenger,
    With meekness, whose divinity is more
    Than power and glory, he return'd again
    To his disciples, and awak'd their sleep,
    For "he that should betray him was at hand."



            CONTEMPLATION.


    'They are all up--the innumerable stars--
    And hold their place in heaven. My eyes have been
    Searching the pearly depths through which they spring
    Like beautiful creations, till I feel
    As if it were a new and perfect world,
    Waiting in silence for the word of God
    To breathe it into motion. There they stand,
    Shining in order, like a living hymn
    Written in light, awaking at the breath
    Of the celestial dawn, and praising Him
    Who made them, with the harmony of spheres.
    I would I had an angel's ear to list
    That melody! I would that I might float
    Up in that boundless element, and feel
    Its ravishing vibrations, like a pulse
    Beating in heaven! My spirit is athirst
    For music--rarer music! I would bathe
    My soul in a serener atmosphere
    Than this! I long to mingle with the flock
    Led by the "living waters," and lie down
    In the "green pastures" of the better land!
    When wilt thou break, dull fetter! When shall I
    Gather my wings; and, like a rushing thought,
    Stretch onward, star by star, up into heaven!'

    Thus mused Alethe. She was one to whom
    Life had been like the witching of a dream,
    Of an untroubled sweetness. She was born
    Of a high race, and laid upon the knee,
    With her soft eye perusing listlessly
    The fretted roof, or, on Mosaic floors,
    Grasped at the tessellated squares, inwrought
    With metals curiously. Her childhood pass'd
    Like faery--amid fountains and green haunts--
    Trying her little feet upon a lawn
    Of velvet evenness, and hiding flowers
    In her sweet bosom, as it were a fair
    And pearly altar to crush incense on.
    Her youth--oh! that was queenly! She was like
    A dream of poetry that may not be
    Written or told--exceeding beautiful!
    And so came worshippers; and rank bow'd down,
    And breathed upon her heart, as with a breath
    Of pride, and bound her forehead gorgeously
    With dazzling scorn, and gave unto her step
    A majesty as if she trod the sea,
    And the proud waves, unbidden, lifted her.
    And so she grew to woman--her mere look
    Strong as a monarch's signet, and her hand
    The ambition of a kingdom.

                            From all this
    Turn'd her high heart away! She had a mind,
    Deep and immortal, and it would not feed
    On pageantry. She thirsted for a spring
    Of a serener element, and drank
    Philosophy, and for a little while
    She was allay'd--till, presently, it turn'd
    Bitter within her, and her spirit grew
    Faint for undying waters.

                            Then she came
    To the pure fount of God--and is athirst
    No more--save when the "fever of the world"
    Falleth upon her, she will go, sometimes,
    Out in the starlight quietness, and breathe
    A holy aspiration after heaven!



            SKETCH OF A SCHOOLFELLOW.


    He sat by me in school. His face is now
    Vividly in my mind, as if he went
    From me but yesterday--its pleasant smile
    And the rich, joyous laughter of his eye,
    And the free play of his unhaughty lip,
    So redolent of his heart! He was not fair,
    Nor singular, nor over-fond of books,
    And never melancholy when alone.
    He was the heartiest in the ring, the last
    Home from the summer's wanderings, and the first
    Over the threshold when the school was done.
    All of us loved him. We shall speak his name
    In the far years to come, and think of him
    When we have lost life's simplest passages,
    And pray for him--forgetting he is dead--
    Life was in him so passing beautiful!

    His childhood had been wasted in the close
    And airless city. He had never thought
    That the blue sky was ample, or the stars
    Many in heaven, or the chainless wind
    Of a medicinal freshness. He had learn'd
    Perilous tricks of manhood, and his hand
    Was ready, and his confidence in himself
    Bold as a quarreller's. Then he came away
    To the unshelter'd hills, and brought an eye
    New as a babe's to nature, and an ear
    As ignorant of its music. He was sad.
    The broad hill sides seem'd desolate, and the woods
    Gloomy and dim, and the perpetual sound
    Of wind and waters and unquiet leaves
    Like the monotony of a dirge. He pined
    For the familiar things until his heart
    Sicken'd for home!--and so he stole away
    To the most silent places, and lay down
    To weep upon the mosses of the slopes,
    And follow'd listlessly the silver streams,
    Till he found out the unsunn'd shadowings,
    And the green openings to the sky, and grew
    Fond of them all insensibly. He found
    Sweet company in the brooks, and loved to sit
    And bathe his fingers wantonly, and feel
    The wind upon his forehead; and the leaves
    Took a beguiling whisper to his ear,
    And the bird-voices music, and the blast
    Swept like an instrument the sounding trees.
    His heart went back to its simplicity
    As the stirr'd waters in the night grow pure--
    Sadness and silence and the dim-lit woods
    Won on his love so well--and he forgot
    His pride and his assumingness, and lost
    The mimicry of the man, and so unlearn'd
    His very character till he became
    As diffident as a girl.
                            'Tis very strange
    How nature sometimes wins upon a child.
    Th' experience of the world is not on him,
    And poetry has not upon his brain
    Left a mock thirst for solitude, nor love
    Writ on his forehead the effeminate shame
    Which hideth from men's eyes. He has a full,
    Shadowless heart, and it is always toned
    More merrily than the chastened voice of winds
    And waters--yet he often, in his mirth,
    Stops by the running brooks, and suddenly
    Loiters, he knows not why, and at the sight
    Of the spread meadows and the lifted hills
    Feels an unquiet pleasure, and forgets
    To listen for his fellows. He will grow
    Fond of the early star, and lie awake
    Gazing with many thoughts upon the moon,
    And lose himself in the deep chamber'd sky
    With his untaught philosophies. It breeds
    Sadness in older hearts, but not in his;
    And he goes merrier to his play, and shouts
    Louder the joyous call--but it will sink
    Into his memory like his mother's prayer,
    For after years to brood on.
                                Cheerful thoughts
    Came to the homesick boy as he became
    Wakeful to beauty in the summer's change,
    And he came oftener to our noisy play,
    Cheering us on with his delightful shout
    Over the hills, and giving interest
    With his keen spirit to the boyish game.
    We loved him for his carelessness of himself,
    And his perpetual mirth, and tho' he stole
    Sometimes away into the woods alone,
    And wandered unaccompanied when the night
    Was beautiful, he was our idol still,
    And we have not forgotten him, tho' time
    Has blotted many a pleasant memory
    Of boyhood out, and we are wearing old
    With the unplayfulness of this grown up world.



            IDLENESS.


    The rain is playing its soft pleasant tune
    Fitfully on the skylight, and the shade
    Of the fast flying clouds across my book
    Passes with delicate change. My merry fire
    Sings cheerfully to itself; my musing cat
    Purrs as she wakes from her unquiet sleep,
    And looks into my face as if she felt
    Like me the gentle influence of the rain.
    Here have I sat since morn, reading sometimes,
    And sometimes listening to the faster fall
    Of the large drops, or rising with the stir
    Of an unbidden thought, have walked awhile
    With the slow steps of indolence, my room,
    And then sat down composedly again
    To my quaint book of olden poetry.
    It is a kind of idleness, I know;
    And I am said to be an idle man--
    And it is very true. I love to go
    Out in the pleasant sun, and let my eye
    Rest on the human faces that pass by,
    Each with its gay or busy interest;
    And then I muse upon their lot, and read
    Many a lesson in their changeful cast,
    And so grow kind of heart, as if the sight
    Of human beings were humanity.
    And I am better after it, and go
    More gratefully to my rest, and feel a love
    Stirring my heart to every living thing,
    And my low prayer has more humility,
    And I sink lightlier to my dreams--and this,
    'Tis very true, is only idleness!

    I love to go and mingle with the young
    In the gay festal room--when every heart
    Is beating faster than the merry tune,
    And their blue eyes are restless, and their lips
    Parted with eager joy, and their round cheeks
    Flushed with the beautiful motion of the dance.
    'Tis sweet, in the becoming light of lamps,
    To watch a brow half shaded, or a curl
    Playing upon a neck capriciously,
    Or, unobserved, to watch in its delight,
    The earnest countenance of a child. I love
    To look upon such things, and I can go
    Back to my solitude, and dream bright dreams
    For their fast coming years, and speak of them
    Earnestly in my prayer, till I am glad
    With a benevolent joy--and this, I know,
    To the world's eye, is only idleness!

    And when the clouds pass suddenly away,
    And the blue sky is like a newer world,
    And the sweet growing things--forest and flower,
    Humble and beautiful alike--are all
    Breathing up odors to the very heaven--
    Or when the frost has yielded to the sun
    In the rich autumn, and the filmy mist
    Lies like a silver lining on the sky,
    And the clear air exhilarates, and life
    Simply, is luxury--and when the hush
    Of twilight, like a gentle sleep, steals on,
    And the birds settle to their nests, and stars
    Spring in the upper sky, and there is not
    A sound that is not low and musical--
    At all these pleasant seasons I go out
    With my first impulse guiding me, and take
    Woodpath, or stream, or sunny mountain side,
    And, in my recklessness of heart, stray on,
    Glad with the birds, and silent with the leaves,
    And happy with the fair and blessed world--
    And this, 'tis true, is only idleness!

    And I should love to go up to the sky,
    And course the heaven like stars, and float away
    Upon the gliding clouds that have no stay
    In their swift journey--and 'twould be a joy
    To walk the chambers of the deep, and tread
    The pearls of its untrodden floor, and know
    The tribes of its unfathomable depths--
    Dwellers beneath the pressure of a sea!
    And I should love to issue with the wind
    On a strong errand, and o'ersweep the earth,
    With its broad continents and islands green,
    Like to the passing of a presence on!--
    And this, 'tis true, were only idleness!



            ON THE DEATH OF EDWARD PAYSON, D.D.

    A servant of the living God is dead!
    His errand hath been well and early done,
    And early hath he gone to his reward.
    He shall come no more forth, but to his sleep
    Hath silently lain down, and so shall rest.

    Would ye bewail our brother? He hath gone
    To Abraham's bosom. He shall no more thirst,
    Nor hunger, but forever in the eye,
    Holy and meek, of Jesus, he may look,
    Unchided, and untempted, and unstained.
    Would ye bewail our brother? He hath gone
    To sit down with the prophets by the clear
    And crystal waters; he hath gone to list
    Isaiah's harp and David's, and to walk
    With Enoch, and Elijah, and the host
    Of the just men made perfect. He shall bow
    At Gabriel's Hallelujah, and unfold
    The scroll of the Apocalypse with John,
    And talk of Christ with Mary, and go back
    To the last supper, and the garden prayer
    With the belov'd disciple. He shall hear
    The story of the Incarnation told
    By Simeon, and the Triune mystery
    Burning upon the fervent lips of Paul.
    He shall have wings of glory, and shall soar
    To the remoter firmaments, and read
    The order and the harmony of stars;
    And, in the might of knowledge, he shall bow
    In the deep pauses of Archangel harps,
    And humble as the Seraphim, shall cry--
    _Who by his searching, finds thee out, Oh God!_

    There shall he meet his children who have gone
    Before him, and as other years roll on,
    And his loved flock go up to him, his hand
    Again shall lead them gently to the Lamb,
    And bring them to the living waters there.

    Is it so good to die! and shall we mourn
    That he is taken early to his rest?
    Tell me! Oh mourner for the man of God!
    Shall we bewail our brother that he died?



            THE TRI-PORTRAIT.


    'Twas a rich night in June. The air was all
    Fragrance and balm, and the wet leaves were stirred
    By the soft fingers of the southern wind,
    And caught the light capriciously, like wings
    Haunting the greenwood with a silvery sheen.
    The stars might not be numbered, and the moon
    Exceeding beautiful, went up in heaven,
    And took her place in silence, and a hush,
    Like the deep Sabbath of the night, came down
    And rested upon nature. I was out
    With three sweet sisters wandering, and my thoughts
    Took color of the moonlight, and of them,
    And I was calm and happy. Their deep tones,
    Low in the stillness, and by that soft air
    Melted to reediness, bore out, like song,
    The language of high feelings, and I felt
    How excellent is woman when she gives
    To the fine pulses of her spirit way.
    One was a noble being, with a brow
    Ample and pure, and on it her black hair
    Was parted, like a raven's wing on snow.
    Her tone was low and sweet, and in her smile
    You read intense affections. Her moist eye
    Had a most rare benignity; her mouth,
    Bland and unshadowed sweetness; and her face
    Was full of that mild dignity that gives
    A holiness to woman. She was one
    Whose virtues blossom daily, and pour out
    A fragrance upon all who in her path
    Have a blest fellowship. I longed to be
    Her brother, that her hand might lie upon
    My forehead, and her gentle voice allay
    The fever that is at my heart sometimes.

    There was a second sister who might witch
    An angel from his hymn. I cannot tell
    The secret of her beauty. It is more
    Than her slight penciled lip, and her arch eye
    Laughing beneath its lashes, as if life
    Were nothing but a merry mask; 'tis more
    Than motion, though she moveth like a fay;
    Or music, though her voice is like a reed
    Blown by a low south wind; or cunning grace,
    Though all she does is beautiful; or thought,
    Or fancy, or a delicate sense, though mind
    Is her best gift, and poetry her world,
    And she will see strange beauty in a flower
    As by a subtle vision. I care not
    To know how she bewitches; 'tis enough
    For me that I can listen to her voice
    And dream rare dreams of music, or converse
    Upon unwrit philosophy, till I
    Am wildered beneath thoughts I cannot bound
    And the red lip that breathes them.
                                  On my arm
    Leaned an unshadowed girl, who scarcely yet
    Had numbered fourteen summers. I know not
    How I shall draw her picture--the young heart
    Has such a restlessness of change, and each
    Of its wild moods so lovely! I can see
    Her figure in its rounded beauty now,
    With her half-flying step, her clustering hair
    Bathing a neck like Hebe's, and her face
    By a glad heart made radiant. She was full
    Of the romance of girlhood. The fair world
    Was like an unmarred Eden to her eye,
    And every sound was music, and the tint
    Of every cloud a silent poetry.
    Light to thy path, bright creature! I would charm
    Thy being if I could, that it should be
    Ever as now thou dreamest, and flow on
    Thus innocent and beautiful to heaven!
    We walked beneath the full and mellow moon
    Till the late stars had risen. It was not
    In silence, though we did not seem to break
    The hush with our low voices; but our thoughts
    Stirred deeply at their sources; and when night
    Divided us, I slumbered with a peace
    Floating about my heart, which only comes
    From high communion. I shall never see
    That silver moon again without a crowd
    Of gentle memories, and a silent prayer,
    That when the night of life shall oversteal
    Your sky, ye lovely sisters! there may be
    A light as beautiful to lead you on.



            JANUARY 1, 1828.


    Fleetly hath past the year. The seasons came
    Duly as they are wont--the gentle Spring,
    And the delicious Summer, and the cool,
    Rich Autumn, with the nodding of the grain,
    And Winter, like an old and hoary man,
    Frosty and stiff--and so are chronicled.
    We have read gladness in the new green leaf,
    And in the first blown violets; we have drunk
    Cool water from the rock, and in the shade
    Sunk to the noon-tide slumber;--we have eat
    The mellow fruitage of the bending tree,
    And girded to our pleasant wanderings
    When the cool wind came freshly from the hills;
    And when the tinting of the Autumn leaves
    Had faded from its glory, we have sat
    By the good fires of Winter, and rejoiced
    Over the fulness of the gathered sheaf.
    "God hath been very good!" 'Tis He whose hand
    Moulded the sunny hills, and hollowed out
    The shelter of the valleys, and doth keep
    The fountains in their secret places cool;
    And it is He who leadeth up the sun,
    And ordereth the starry influences,
    And tempereth the keenness of the frost--
    And therefore, in the plenty of the feast,
    And in the lifting of the cup, let HIM
    Have praises for the well-completed year.



            JANUARY 1, 1829.


    Winter is come again. The sweet south west
    Is a forgotten wind, and the strong earth
    Has laid aside its mantle to be bound
    By the frost fetter. There is not a sound
    Save of the skaiter's heel, and there is laid
    An icy finger on the lip of streams,
    And the clear icicle hangs cold and still,
    And the snow-fall is noiseless as a thought.
    Spring has a rushing sound, and Summer sends
    Many sweet voices with its odors out,
    And Autumn rustleth its decaying robe
    With a complaining whisper. Winter's dumb!
    God made his ministry a silent one,
    And he has given him a foot of steel
    And an unlovely aspect, and a breath
    Sharp to the senses--and we know that He
    Tempereth well, and hath a meaning hid
    Under the shadow of his hand. Look up!
    And it shall be interpreted--Your home
    Hath a temptation now. There is no voice
    Of waters with beguiling for your ear,
    And the cool forest and the meadows green
    Witch not your feet away; and in the dells
    There are no violets, and upon the hills
    There are no sunny places to lie down.
    You must go in, and by your cheerful fire
    Wait for the offices of love, and hear
    Accents of human tenderness, and feast
    Your eye upon the beauty of the young.
    It is a season for the quiet thought,
    And the still reckoning with thyself. The year
    Gives back the spirits of its dead, and time
    Whispers the history of its vanished hours;
    And the heart, calling its affections up,
    Counteth its wasted ingots. Life stands still
    And settles like a fountain, and the eye
    Sees clearly through its depths, and noteth all
    That stirred its troubled waters. It is well
    That Winter with the dying year should come!



            PSYCHE,

            BEFORE THE TRIBUNAL OF VENUS.


    Lift up thine eyes, sweet Psyche! What is she
    That those soft fringes timidly should fall
    Before her, and thy spiritual brow
    Be shadowed as her presence were a cloud?
    A loftier gift is thine than she can give--
    That queen of beauty. She may mould the brow
    To perfectness, and give unto the form
    A beautiful proportion; she may stain
    The eye with a celestial blue--the cheek
    With carmine of the sunset; she may breathe
    Grace into every motion, like the play
    Of the least visible tissue of a cloud;
    She may give all that is within her own
    Bright cestus--and one silent look of thine,
    Like stronger magic, will outcharm it all.

    Ay, for the soul is better than its frame,
    The spirit than its temple. What's the brow,
    Or the eye's lustre, or the step of air,
    Or color, but the beautiful links that chain
    The mind from its rare element? There lies
    A talisman in intellect which yields
    Celestial music, when the master hand
    Touches it cunningly. It sleeps beneath
    The outward semblance, and to common sight
    Is an invisible and hidden thing;
    But when the lip is faded, and the cheek
    Robbed of its daintiness, and when the form
    Witches the sense no more, and human love
    Falters in its idolatry, this spell
    Will hold its strength unbroken, and go on
    Stealing anew the affections.
                              Marvel not
    That Love leans sadly on his bended bow.
    He hath found out the loveliness of mind,
    And he is spoilt for beauty. So 'twill be
    Ever--the glory of the human form
    Is but a perishing thing, and Love will droop
    When its brief grace hath faded; but the mind
    Perisheth not, and when the outward charm
    Hath had its brief existence, it awakes,
    And is the lovelier that it slept so long--
    Like wells that by the wasting of their flow
    Have had their deeper fountains broken up.



            ON SEEING A BEAUTIFUL BOY AT PLAY.


    Down the green slope he bounded. Raven curls
    From his white shoulders by the winds were swept,
    And the clear color of his sunny cheek
    Was bright with motion. Through his open lips
    Shone visibly a delicate line of pearl,
    Like a white vein within a rosy shell,
    And his dark eye's clear brilliance, as it lay
    Beneath his lashes, like a drop of dew
    Hid in the moss, stole out as covertly
    As starlight from the edging of a cloud.
    I never saw a boy so beautiful.
    His step was like the stooping of a bird,
    And his limbs melted into grace like things
    Shaped by the wind of summer. He was like
    A painter's fine conception--such an one
    As he would have of Ganymede, and weep
    Upon his pallet that he could not win
    The vision to his easel. Who could paint
    The young and shadowless spirit? Who could chain
    The visible gladness of a heart that lives,
    Like a glad fountain, in the eye of light,
    With an unbreathing pencil? Nature's gift
    Has nothing that is like it. Sun and stream,
    And the new leaves of June, and the young lark
    That flees away into the depths of heaven,
    Lost in his own wild music, and the breath
    Of springtime, and the summer eve, and noon
    In the cool autumn, are like fingers swept
    Over sweet-toned affections--but the joy
    That enters to the spirit of a child
    Is deep as his young heart: his very breath,
    The simple sense of being, is enough
    To ravish him, and like a thrilling touch
    He feels each moment of his life go by.

    Beautiful, beautiful childhood! with a joy
    That like a robe is palpable, and flung
    Out by your every motion! delicate bud
    Of the immortal flower that will unfold
    And come to its maturity in heaven!
    I weep your earthly glory. 'Tis a light
    Lent to the new born spirit that goes out
    With the first idle wind. It is the leaf
    Fresh flung upon the river, that will dance
    Upon the wave that stealeth out its life,
    Then sink of its own heaviness. The face
    Of the delightful earth will to your eye
    Grow dim; the fragrance of the many flowers
    Be noticed not, and the beguiling voice
    Of nature in her gentleness will be
    To manhood's senseless ear inaudible.
    I sigh to look upon thy face, young boy!



            A CHILD'S FIRST IMPRESSION OF A STAR.


    She had been told that God made all the stars
    That twinkled up in heaven, and now she stood
    Watching the coming of the twilight on,
    As if it were a new and perfect world,
    And this were its first eve. How beautiful
    Must be the work of nature to a child
    In its first fresh impression! Laura stood
    By the low window, with the silken lash
    Of her soft eye upraised, and her sweet mouth
    Half parted with the new and strange delight
    Of beauty that she could not comprehend,
    And had not seen before. The purple folds
    Of the low sunset clouds, and the blue sky
    That look'd so still and delicate above,
    Fill'd her young heart with gladness, and the eve
    Stole on with its deep shadows, and she still
    Stood looking at the west with that half smile,
    As if a pleasant thought were at her heart.
    Presently, in the edge of the last tint
    Of sunset, where the blue was melted in
    To the faint golden mellowness, a star
    Stood suddenly. A laugh of wild delight
    Burst from her lips, and putting up her hands,
    Her simple thought broke forth expressively--
    "Father! dear Father! God has made a star!"



            DEDICATION HYMN.


    The perfect world by Adam trod,
    Was the first temple--built by God--
    His fiat laid the corner stone,
    And heav'd its pillars, one by one.

    He hung its starry roof on high--
    The broad illimitable sky;
    He spread its pavement, green and bright,
    And curtain'd it with morning light.

    The mountains in their places stood--
    The sea--the sky--and "all was good;"
    And, when its first pure praises rang,
    The "morning stars together sang."

    Lord! 'tis not ours to make the sea
    And earth and sky a house for thee;
    But in thy sight our off'ring stands--
    A humbler temple, "made with hands."



            THE BAPTISM.


    She stood up in the meekness of a heart
    Resting on God, and held her fair young child
    Upon her bosom, with its gentle eyes
    Folded in sleep, as if its soul had gone
    To whisper the baptismal vow in Heaven.
    The prayer went up devoutly, and the lips
    Of the good man glowed fervently with faith
    That it would be, even as he had pray'd,
    And the sweet child be gather'd to the fold
    Of Jesus. As the holy words went on
    Her lips mov'd silently, and tears, fast tears
    Stole from beneath her lashes, and upon
    The forehead of the beautiful child lay soft
    With the baptismal water. Then I thought
    That, to the eye of God, that mother's tears
    Would be a deeper covenant, which sin
    And the temptations of the world, and death
    Would leave unbroken, and that she would know
    In the clear light of heaven, how very strong
    The prayer which press'd them from her heart had been
    In leading its young spirit up to God.



            THE TABLE OF EMERALD.

    Deep, it is said, under yonder pyramid, has for ages lain
    concealed the Table of Emerald, on which the thrice-great
    Hermes engraved, before the flood, the secret of Alchemy
    that gives gold at will. _Epicurean._


    That 'Emerald Green of the Pyramid'--
      Were I where it is laid,
    I'd ask no king for his heavy crown,
      As its hidden words were said.
    The pomp and the glitter of worldly pride
      Should fetter my moments not,
    And the natural thought of an open mind,
      Should govern alone my lot.

    Would I feast all day? revel all night?
      Laugh with a weary heart?
    Would I sleep away the breezy morn?
      And wake till the stars depart?
    Would I gain no knowledge, and search no deep
      For the wisdom that sages knew?
    Would I run to waste with a human mind--
      To its noble trust untrue?

    Oh! knew I the depth of that 'Emerald Green,'
      And knew I the spell of gold,
    I would never poison a fresh young heart
      With the taint of customs old.
    I would bind no wreath to my forehead free
      In whose shadow a thought would die,
    Nor drink from the cup of revelry,
      The ruin my gold would buy.

    But I'd break the fetters of care worn things,
      And be spirit and fancy free,
    My mind should go up where it longs to go,
      And the limitless wind outflee.
    I'd climb to the eyries of eagle men
      Till the stars became a scroll;
    And pour right on, like the even sea,
      In the strength of a governed soul.

    Ambition! Ambition! I've laughed to scorn
      Thy robe and thy gleaming sword;
    I would follow sooner a woman's eye,
      Or the spell of a gentle word;
    But come with the glory of human mind,
      And the light of the scholar's brow,
    And my heart shall be taught forgetfulness,
      And alone at thy altar bow.

    There was one dark eye--it hath passed away!
      There was one deep tone--'tis not!
    Could I see it now--could I hear it now,
      Ye were all too well forgot.
    My heart brought up, from its chambers deep,
      The sum of its earthly love;
    But it might not--could not--buy like Heaven,
      And she stole to her rest above.

    That first deep love I have taken back,
      In my rayless heart to hide;
    With the tear it brought for a burning seal,
      'Twill there forever bide.
    I may stretch on now to a nobler ken,
      I may live in my thoughts of flame--
    The tie is broken that kept me back,
      And my spirit is on, for fame!

    But alas! I am dreaming as if I knew
      The spell of the tablet green;
    I forgot how like to a broken reed,
      Is the lot on which I lean.
    There is nothing true of my idle dream,
      But the wreck of my early love;
    And my mind is coined for my daily bread,
      And how can it soar above?



            THE ANNOYER.

  Sogna il guerriér le schiere,
      Le sel ve il cacciatór;
      E sogna il pescatór;
      Le reti, e l' amo.     _Metastatio._


    Love knoweth every form of air,
      And every shape of earth,
    And comes, unbidden, everywhere,
      Like thought's mysterious birth.
    The moonlight sea and the sunset sky
      Are written with Love's words,
    And you hear his voice unceasingly,
      Like song in the time of birds.

    He peeps into the warrior's heart
      From the tip of a stooping plume,
    And the serried spears, and the many men
      May not deny him room.
    He'll come to his tent in the weary night,
      And be busy in his dream;
    And he'll float to his eye in morning light
      Like a fay on a silver beam.

    He hears the sound of the hunter's gun,
      And rides on the echo back,
    And sighs in his ear like a stirring leaf,
      And flits in his woodland track.
    The shade of the wood, and the sheen of the river,
      The cloud, and the open sky--
    He will haunt them all with his subtle quiver,
      Like the light of your very eye.

    The fisher hangs over the leaning boat,
      And ponders the silver sea,
    For Love is under the surface hid,
      And a spell of thought has he.
    He heaves the wave like a bosom sweet,
      And speaks in the ripple low,
    Till the bait is gone from the crafty line,
      And the hook hangs bare below.

    He blurs the print of the scholar's book,
      And intrudes in the maiden's prayer.
    And profanes the cell of the holy man,
      In the shape of a lady fair.
    In the darkest night, and the bright daylight,
      In earth, and sea, and sky,
    In every home of human thought,
      Will Love be lurking nigh.



            STARLIGHT.


    The evening star will twinkle presently.
    The last small bird is silent, and the bee
    Has gone into his hive, and the shut flowers
    Are bending as if sleeping on the stem,
    And all sweet living things are slumbering
    In the deep hush of nature's resting time.
    The faded West looks deep, as if its blue
    Were searchable, and even as I look,
    The twilight hath stole over it, and made
    Its liquid eye apparent, and above
    To the far-stretching zenith, and around,
    As if they waited on her like a queen,
    Have stole out the innumerable stars
    To twinkle like intelligence in heaven.
    Is it not beautiful, my fair Adel?
    Fit for the young affections to come out
    And bathe in like an element! How well
    The night is made for tenderness--so still
    That the low whisper, scarcely audible,
    Is heard like music, and so deeply pure
    That the fond thought is chastened as it springs
    And on the lip made holy. I have won
    Thy heart, my gentle girl! but it hath been
    When that soft eye was on me, and the love
    I told beneath the evening influence
    Shall be as constant as its gentle star.



            LASSITUDE.


    I will throw by my book. The weariness
    Of too much study presses on my brain,
    And thought's close fetter binds upon my brow
    Like a distraction, and I must give o'er.
    Morning hath seen me here, and noon, and eve;
    And midnight with its deep and solemn hush
    Has look'd upon my labors, and the dawn,
    With its sweet voices, and its tempting breath
    Has driven me to rest--and I can bear
    The burden of such weariness no more.
    I have foregone society, and fled
    From a sweet sister's fondness, and from all
    A home's alluring blandishments, and now
    When I am thirsting for them, and my heart
    Would leap at the approaches of their kind
    And gentle offices, they are not here,
    And I must feel that I am all alone.
    Oh, for the fame of this forgetful world
    How much we suffer! Were it _all_ for this--
    Were nothing but the empty praise of men
    The guerdon of this sedentary toil--
    Were this world's perishable honors _all_--
    I'd bound from its confinement as a hart
    Leaps from its hunters--but I know, that when
    My name shall be forgotten, and my frame
    Rests from its labors, I shall find above
    A work for the capacities I win,
    And, as I discipline my spirit here,
    My lyre shall have a nobler sweep in Heaven.



            "ROARING BROOK:"--CHESHIRE, CON.


    It was a mountain stream that with the leap
    Of its impatient waters had worn out
    A channel in the rock, and wash'd away
    The earth that had upheld the tall old trees,
    Till it was darken'd with the shadowy arch
    Of the o'er-leaning branches. Here and there
    It loiter'd in a broad and limpid pool
    That circled round demurely, and anon
    Sprung violently over where the rock
    Fell suddenly, and bore its bubbles on,
    Till they were broken by the hanging moss,
    As anger with a gentle word grows calm.
    In spring-time, when the snows were coming down,
    And in the flooding of the Autumn rains,
    No foot might enter there--but in the hot
    And thirsty summer, when the fountains slept,
    You could go its channel in the shade,
    To the far sources, with a brow as cool
    As in the grotto of the anchorite.
    Here when an idle student have I come,
    And in a hollow of the rock lain down
    And mus'd until the eventide, or read
    Some fine old Poet till my nook became
    A haunt of faery, or the busy flow
    Of water to my spell-bewilder'd ear
    Seem'd like the din of some gay tournament.
    Pleasant have been such hours, and tho' the wise
    Have said that I was indolent, and they
    Who taught me have reprov'd me that I play'd
    The truant in the leafy month of June,
    I deem it true philosophy in him
    Whose spirit must be temper'd of the world,
    To loiter with these wayside comforters.



            THE DECLARATION.


    'Twas late, and the gay company was gone,
    And light lay soft on the deserted room
    From alabaster vases, and a scent
    Of orange leaves, and sweet verbena came
    Through the unshutter'd window on the air,
    And the rich pictures with their dark old tints
    Hung like a twilight landscape, and all things
    Seem'd hush'd into a slumber. Isabel,
    The dark eyed, spiritual Isabel
    Was leaning on her harp, and I had staid
    To whisper what I could not when the crowd
    Hung on her look like worshippers. I knelt,
    And with the fervor of a lip unused
    To the cool breath of reason, told my love.
    There was no answer, and I took the hand
    That rested on the strings, and pressed a kiss
    Upon it unforbidden--and again
    Besought her, that this silent evidence
    That I was not indifferent to her heart,
    Might have the seal of one sweet syllable.
    I kissed the small white fingers as I spoke,
    And she withdrew them gently, and upraised
    Her forehead from its resting place, and looked
    Earnestly on me--She had been asleep!



            ISABEL.


    They said that I was strange. I could not bear
    Confinement, and I lov'd to feel the wind
    Blowing upon my forehead, and when morn
    Came like an inspiration from the East,
    And the cool earth, awaking like a star
    In a new element, sent out its voice,
    And tempted me with music, and the breath
    Of a delicious perfume, and the dye
    Of the rich forests and the pastures green,
    To come out and be glad--I would not stay
    To bind my gushing spirit with a book.

    Fourteen bright summers--and my heart had grown
    Impatient in its loneliness, and yearn'd
    For something that was like itself, to love.
    She came--the stately Isabel--as proud
    And beautiful, and gentle as my dream;
    And with my wealth of feeling, lov'd I her.
    Older by years, and wiser of the world,
    She was in thought my equal, and we rang'd
    The pleasant wood together, and sat down
    Impassion'd with the same delicious sweep
    Of water, and I pour'd into her ear
    My passion and my hoarded thoughts like one,
    Till I forgot that there was any world
    But Isabel and nature. She was pleas'd
    And flatter'd with my wild and earnest love,
    And suffer'd my delirious words to burn
    Upon my lip unchided. It was new
    To be so worshipped like a deity
    By a pure heart from nature, and she gave
    Her tenderness its way, and when I kiss'd
    Her fingers till I thought I was in Heaven,
    She gaz'd upon me silently, and wept.

           *       *       *       *       *

    I have seen eighteen summers--and the child
    Of stately Isabel hath learn'd to come
    And win me from my sadness. I have school'd
    My feelings to affection for that child,
    And I can see his father fondle him,
    And give him to his mother with a kiss
    Upon her holy forehead--and be calm!



            MERE ACCIDENT.


    It was a shady nook that I had found
    Deep in the greenwood. A delicious stream
    Ran softly by it on a bed of grass,
    And to the border leant a sloping bank
    Of moss as delicate as Tempe e'er
    Spread for the sleep of Io. Overhead
    The spreading larch was woven with the fir,
    And as the summer wind stole listlessly,
    And dallied with the tree tops, they would part
    And let in sprinklings of the sunny light,
    Studding the moss like silver; and again
    Returning to their places, there would come
    A murmur from the touched and stirring leaves,
    That like a far-off instrument, beguiled
    Your mood into the idleness of sleep.

    Here did I win thee, Viola! We came--
    Thou knowest how carelessly--and never thought
    Love lived in such a wilderness; and thou--
    I had a cousin's kindness for thy lip,
    And in the meshes of thy chesnut hair
    I loved to hide my fingers--that was all!
    And when I saw thy figure on the grass,
    And thy straw bonnet flung aside, I thought
    A fairy would be pretty, painted so
    Upon a ground of green--but that was all!

    And when thou playfully wouldst bathe thy foot,
    And the clear water of the stream ran off
    And left the white skin polished, why, I thought
    It looked like ivory--but that was all!
    And when thou wouldst be serious, and I
    Was serious too, and thy mere fairy's hand
    Lay carelessly in mine, and just for thought
    I mused upon thy innocence and gaz'd
    Upon the pure transparence of thy brow--
    I pressed thy fingers half unconsciously,
    And fell in love. Was _that_ all, Viola?



            THE EARL'S MINSTREL.


    I had a passion when I was a child
    For a most pleasant idleness. In June,
    When the thick masses of the leaves were stirr'd
    With a just audible murmur, and the streams
    Fainted in their cool places to a low
    Unnotic'd tinkle, and the reapers hung
    Their sickles in the trees and went to sleep,
    Then might you find me in an antique chair
    Cushion'd with cunning luxury, which stood
    In the old study corner, by a nook
    Crowded with volumes of the old romance;
    And there, the long and quiet summer day,
    Lay I with half clos'd eyelids, turning o'er
    Leaf after leaf, until the twilight blurr'd
    Their singular and time-stain'd characters.
    'Twas a forgetful lore, and it is blent
    With dreams that in my fitful slumber came,
    And is remember'd faintly. But to-day
    With the strange waywardness of human thought,
    A story has come back to me which I
    Had long forgotten, and I tell it now
    Because it hath a savour that I find
    But seldom in the temper of the world.

    Angelo turn'd away. He was a poor
    Unhonor'd minstrel, and he might not breathe
    Love to the daughter of an Earl. She rais'd
    Proudly her beautiful head, and shook away
    From her clear temples the luxuriant hair,
    And told him it would ever please her well
    To listen to his minstrelsy, but love
    Was for a loftier lip--and then the tear
    Stole to her flashing eye, for as she spoke
    There rose up a remembrance of his keen,
    Unstooping spirit, and his noble heart
    Given her like a sacrifice, and she held
    Her hand for him to kiss, and said, "Farewell!
    Think of me, Angelo!" and so pass'd on.

    The color to his forehead mounted high,
    And his thin lip curl'd haughtily, and then
    As if his mood had chang'd, he bow'd his head
    Low on his bosom, and remain'd awhile
    Lost in his bitter thoughts--and then again
    He lifted to its height his slender form,
    And his moist eye grew clear, and his hand pass'd
    Rapidly o'er his instrument while thus
    He gave his spirit voice:--

      It did not need that alter'd look,
        Nor that uplifted brow--
      I had not ask'd thy haughty love,
        Were I as proud as now.
      My love was like a beating heart--
        Unbidden and unstayed;
      And had I known but half its power,
        It had not been betray'd.

      I did not seek thy titled hand;
        I thought not of thy name;
      I only granted utterance
        To one wild thought of flame.
      I did not dream thou couldst be mine,
        Or I a thought to thee--
      I only knew my lip must let
        Some burning thought go free.

      I lov'd thee for thy high born grace,
        Thy deep and lustrous eye,
      For the sweet meaning of thy brow,
        And for thy bearing high;
      I lov'd thee for thy stainless truth,
        Thy thirst for higher things;
      For all that to our common lot
        A better temper brings--

      And are they not all thine? still thine?
        Is not thy heart as true?
      Holds not thy step its noble grace--
        Thy cheek its dainty hue?
      And have I not an ear to hear--
        A cloudless eye to see--
      And a thirst for beautiful human thought,
        That first was stirr'd with thee?

      Then why should I turn from thee now?
        Why should not I love on--
      Dreaming of thee by night, by day,
        As I have ever done?
      My service shall be still as leal,
        My love as quenchless burn
     It shames me of my selfish thought
        That dream'd of a return!

    He married her! Perhaps it spoils the tale--
    But she had listen'd to his song, unseen,
    And kept it in her heart, and, by and by,
    When Angelo did service for his king,
    And was prefer'd to honor, she betray'd
    Her secret in some delicate way that I
    Do not remember, and so ends the tale.



            THE SERENADE.


    Innocent dreams be thine! The silver night
    Is a fit curtain for thy lovely sleep.
    The stars keep watch above thee, and the moon
    Sits like a brooding spirit up in Heaven,
    Ruling the night's deep influences, and life
    Hath a hushed pulse, and the suspended leaves
    Sleep with their whisperings as if the dew
    Were a soft finger on the lip of sound.
    Innocent dreams be thine! thy heart sends up
    Its thoughts of purity like pearly bells
    Rising in crystal fountains, and the sin
    That thou hast seen by day, will, like a shade,
    Pass from thy memory, as if the pure
    Had an unconscious ministry by night.

    Midnight--and now for music! Would I were
    A sound that I might steal upon thy dreams,
    And, like the breathing of my flute, distil
    Sweetly upon thy senses. Softly, boy!
    Breathe the low cadences as if the words
    Fainted upon thy lip--I would not break
    Her slumber quite--but only, as she dreams,
    Witch the lull'd sense till she believes she hears
    Celestial melody:--



            SONG.


    "Sleep, like a lover, woo thee,
              Isabel!
    And golden dreams come to thee,
              Like a spell
    By some sweet angel drawn!
    Noiseless hands shall seal thy slumber,
    Setting stars its moments number,
              So, sleep thou on!

    The night above thee broodeth,
              Hushed and deep;
    But no dark thought intrudeth
              On the sleep
    Which folds thy senses now.
    Gentle spirits float around thee,
    Gentle rest hath softly bound thee,
              For pure art thou!

    And now thy spirit fleeth
              On rare wings,
    And fancy's vision seeth
              Holy things
    In its high atmosphere.
    Music strange thy sense unsealeth,
    And a voice to thee revealeth
              What angels hear.

    Thou'lt wake when morning breaketh,
              Pure and calm;
    As one who mourns, awaketh
              When the balm
    Of peace hath on him fell.
    Purer thoughts shall stir within thee,
    Softer cords to virtue win thee--
              Farewell! Farewell!"



            HERO.

  _Claudio_. Know you any Hero?
  _Hero_. None my lord!        _As You Like it._


    Gentle and modest Hero! I can see
    Her delicate figure, and her soft blue eye,
    Like a warm vision--lovely as she stood,
    Veiled in the presence of young Claudio.
    Modesty bows her head, and that young heart
    That would endure all suffering for the love
    It hideth, is as tremulous as the leaf
    Forsaken of the Summer. She hath flung
    Her all upon the venture of her vow,
    And in her trust leans meekly, like a flower
    By the still river tempted from its stem,
    And on its bosom floating.
                            Once again
    I see her, and she standeth in her pride,
    With her soft eye enkindled, and her lip
    Curled with its sweet resentment, like a line
    Of lifeless coral. She hath heard the voice
    That was her music utter it, and still
    To her affection faithful, she hath turned
    And questioned in her innocent unbelief,
    "Is my lord well, that he should speak so wide?"--
    How did they look upon that open brow,
    And not read purity? Alas for truth!
    It hath so many counterfeits. The words,
    That to a child were written legibly,
    Are by the wise mistaken, and when light
    Hath made the brow transparent, and the face
    Is like an angel's--virtue is so fair--
    They read it like an over-blotted leaf,
    And break the heart that wrote it.



            APRIL.

      A violet by a mossy stone,
      Half hidden from the eye,
    Fair as a star, when only one,
      Is shining in the sky.              _Wordsworth_


    I have found violets. April hath come on,
    And the cool winds feel softer, and the rain
    Falls in the beaded drops of summer time.
    You may hear birds at morning, and at eve
    The tame dove lingers till the twilight falls,
    Cooing upon the eaves, and drawing in
    His beautiful bright neck, and from the hills,
    A murmur like the hoarseness of the sea
    Tells the release of waters, and the earth
    Sends up a pleasant smell, and the dry leaves
    Are lifted by the grass--and so I know
    That Nature, with her delicate ear, hath heard
    The dropping of the velvet foot of Spring.
    Smell of my violets! I found them where
    The liquid South stole o'er them, on a bank
    That lean'd to running water. There's to me
    A daintiness about these early flowers
    That touches me like poetry. They blow
    With such a simple loveliness among
    The common herbs of pasture, and breathe out
    Their lives so unobtrusively, like hearts
    Whose beatings are too gentle for the world.
    I love to go in the capricious days
    Of April and hunt violets; when the rain
    Is in the blue cups trembling, and they nod
    So gracefully to the kisses of the wind.
    It may be deem'd unmanly, but the wise
    Read nature like the manuscript of heaven
    And call the flowers its poetry. Go out!
    Ye spirits of habitual unrest,
    And read it when the "fever of the world"
    Hath made your hearts impatient, and, if life
    Hath yet one spring unpoison'd, it will be
    Like a beguiling music to its flow,
    And you will no more wonder that I love
    To hunt for violets in the April time.



            TO A BRIDE.


    Pass thou on! for the vow is said
      That is never broken;
    The hand of blessing hath, trembling, laid
    On snowy forehead and simple braid,
      And the word is spoken
    By lips that never their words betray'd.

    Pass thou on! for thy human all
      Is richly given,
    And the voice that claim'd its holy thrall
    Must be sweeter for life than music's fall,
      And, this side Heaven,
    Thy lip may never that trust recal.

    Pass thou on! yet many an eye
      Will droop and glisten;
    And the hushing heart in vain will try
    To still its pulse as thy step goes by
      And we "vainly listen
    For thy voice of witching melody."

    Pass thou on! yet a sister's tone
      In its sweetness lingers,
    Like some twin echo sent back alone,
    Or the bird's soft note when its mate hath flown,
      And a sister's fingers
    Will again o'er the thrilling harp be thrown.

    And our eyes will rest on their foreheads fair,
      And our hearts awaken
    Whenever we come where their voices are--
    But oh, we shall think how musical were,
      Ere of thee forsaken,
    The mingled voices we listed there.

    Pass on! there is not of our blessings one
      That may not perish--
    Like visiting angels whose errand is done,
    They are never at rest till their home is won,
      And we may not cherish
    The beautiful gift of _thy_ light--Pass on!



            TWENTY-TWO.


    I'm twenty-two--I'm twenty-two--
      They gaily give me joy,
    As if I should be glad to hear
      That I was less a boy.
    They do not know how carelessly
      Their words have given pain,
    To one whose heart would leap to be
      A happy boy again.

    I had a light and careless heart
      When this brief year began,
    And then I pray'd that I might be
      A grave and perfect man.
    The world was like a blessed dream
      Of joyous coming years--
    I did not know its manliness
      Was but to wake in tears.

    A change has on my spirit come,
      I am forever sad;
    The light has all departed now
      My early feelings had;
    I used to love the morning grey,
      The twilight's quiet deep,
    But now like shadows on the sea,
      Upon my thoughts they creep.

    And love was like a holy star,
      When this brief year was young,
    And my whole worship of the sky
      On one sweet ray was flung;
    But worldly things have come between,
      And shut it from my sight,
    And though the star shines purely yet,
      I mourn its hidden light.

    And fame! I bent to it the knee,
      And bow'd to it my brow,
    And it is like a coal upon
      My living spirit now--
    But when I pray'd for burning fire
      To touch the soul I bow'd,
    I did not know the lightning flash
      Would come in such a cloud.

    Ye give me joy! Is it because
      Another year has fled?--
    That I am farther from my youth,
      And nearer to the dead?
    Is it because my cares have come?--
      My happy boyhood o'er?--
    Because the visions I have lov'd
      Will visit me no more?

    Oh, tell me not that ye are glad!
      I cannot smile it back;
    I've found no flower, and seen no light
      On manhood's weary track.
    My love is deep--ambition deep--
      And heart and mind _will_ on--
    But love is fainting by the way,
      And fame consumes ere won.



            ON A PICTURE OF CHILDREN PLAYING.

            BY FISHER.


    I love to look on a scene like this,
      Of wild and careless play,
    And persuade myself that I am not old
      And my locks are not yet gray;
    For it stirs the blood in old man's heart,
      And makes his pulses fly,
    To catch the thrill of a happy voice,
      And the light of a pleasant eye.

    I have walked the world for fourscore years,
      And they say that I am old;
    That my heart is ripe for the reaper, Death,
      And my years are well nigh told.
    It is very true--it is very true--
      I'm old, and 'I bide my time'--
    But my heart will leap at a scene like this,
      And I half renew my prime.

    Play on! play on! I am with you there,
      In the midst of your merry ring;
    I can feel the thrill of the daring jump,
      And the rush of the breathless swing.
    I hide with you in the fragrant hay,
      And I whoop the smothered call,
    And my feet slip up on the seedy floor,
      And I care not for the fall.

    I am willing to die when my time shall come,
      And I shall be glad to go;
    For the world, at best, is a weary place,
      And my pulse is getting low;
    But the grave is dark, and the heart will fail
      In treading its gloomy way;
    And it wiles my heart from its dreariness,
      To see the young so gay.



            TO A SLEEPING BOY.


    Sleep on! Sleep on! beguiling
      The hours with happy rest.
    Sleep!--by that dreamy smiling,
      I know that thou art blest.
    Thy mother over thee hath leant
      To guard thee from annoy,
    And the angel of the innocent
      Was in that dream, my boy!

    The tinting of the summer rose
      Is on that pillowed cheek,
    And the quietness of summer thought
      Has made thy forehead meek.
    And yet that little ample brow,
      And arching lip, are fraught
    With pledges of high manliness,
      And promises of thought.

    Thy polished limbs are rounded out
      As is the Autumn fruit,
    And full and reedy is the voice
      That slumber hath made mute.
    And, looking on thy perfect form--
      Hearing thy pleasant tone--
    I almost weep for joy, my son,
      To know thee for my own.

    Sleep on! thine eye seems looking thro'
      The half transparent lid,
    As if its free and radiant glance
      Impatiently were hid;
    But ever as I kneel to pray,
      And in my fulness weep,
    I thank the Giver of my child
      For that pure gift of sleep--
    I half believe they take thee, then,
      Back to a better world again.

    And so, sleep on! If thou hast worn
      An angel's shining wing,
    The watch that I have loved to keep
      Hath been a blessed thing.
    And if thy spirit hath been here,
      With spotless thoughts alone--
    A mother's silent ministry
      Is still a holy one;
    And I will pray that there may be
      A shining wing in wait for thee.



            SONNET. WINTER.


    The frozen ground looks gray. 'Twill shut the snow
      Out from its bosom, and the flakes will fall
    Softly and lie upon it. The hushed flow
      Of the ice-covered waters, and the call
    Of the cold driver to his oxen slow,
      And the complaining of the gust, are all
    That I can hear of music--would that I
    With the green summer like a leaf might die?
    So will a man grow gray, and on his head
      The snow of years lie visibly, and so
    Will come a frost when his green years have fled,
      And his chilled pulses sluggishly will flow,
    And his deep voice be shaken--would that I
    In the green summer of my youth might die!



            SONNET.


    Storm had been on the hills. The day had worn
    As if a sleep upon the hours had crept;
    And the dark clouds that gather'd at the morn
    In dull, impenetrable masses slept,
    And the wept leaves hung droopingly, and all
    Was like the mournful aspect of a pall.
    Suddenly on the horizon's edge, a blue
    And delicate line, as of a pencil, lay,
    And, as it wider and intenser grew,
    The darkness removed silently away,
    And, with the splendor of a God, broke through
    The perfect glory of departing day--
    So, when his stormy pilgrimage is o'er,
    Will light upon the dying Christian pour.



            SONNET.


    Elegance floats about thee like a dress,
      Melting the airy motion of thy form
    Into one swaying grace, and loveliness,
      Like a rich tint that makes a picture warm,
    Is lurking in the chesnut of thy tress,
      Enriching it, as moonlight after storm
    Mingles dark shadows into gentleness.
      A beauty that bewilders like a spell
    Reigns in thine eye's clear hazel, and thy brow
      So pure in vein'd transparency doth tell
    How spiritually beautiful art thou--
      A temple where angelic love might dwell.
    Life in thy presence were a thing to keep,
    Like a gay dreamer clinging to his sleep.



            SONNET.


    Beautiful robin! with thy feathers red
      Contrasting sweetly with the soft green tree,
    Making thy little flights as thou art led
      By things that tempt a simple one like thee--
    I would that thou couldst warble me to tears
    As lightly as the birds of other years.
      Idly to lie beneath an April sun,
    Pressing the perfume from the tender grass;
      To watch a joyous rivulet leap on
    With the clear tinkle of a music glass,
    And as I saw the early robin pass,
      To hear him thro' his little compass run--
    Hath been a joy that I shall no more know
    Before I to my better portion go.



            SONNET.


    Exquisite Laura! with thy pouting lip,
      And the arch smile that makes me constant so--
    Tempting me still like a dull bee to sip
      The flower I should have left so long ago--
    Beautiful Laura! who art just so fair
      That I can think thee lovely when alone,
    And still art not so wonderfully rare
      That I could never find a prettier one--
    Spirited Laura! laughing, weeping, crying
      In the same breath, and gravest with the gay--
    So wild, that Cupid ever shoots thee flying,
      And knows his archery is thrown away--
    Inconstant as I am, I cannot yet
    Break thy sweet fetter, exquisite coquette!



            SONNET.


    There was a beautiful spirit in her air,
      As of a fay at revel. Hidden springs,
    Too delicate for knowledge, should be there,
      Moving her gently like invisible wings;
    And then her lip out-blushing the red fruit
      That bursts with ripeness in the Autumn time,
    And the arch eye you would not swear was mute,
      And the clear cheek, as of a purer clime,
    And the low tone, soft as a pleasant flute
      Sent over water with the vesper chime;
    And then her forehead with its loose, dark curl,
      And the bewildering smile that made her mouth
      Like a torn rose-leaf moistened of the South--
    She has an angel's gifts--the radiant girl!



            ANDRE'S REQUEST.


    It is not the fear of death
      That damps my brow;
    It is not for another breath
      I ask thee now;
    I can die with a lip unstirr'd
      And a quiet heart--
    Let but this prayer be heard
      Ere I depart.

    I can give up my mother's look--
      My sister's kiss;
    I can think of love--yet brook
      A death like this!
    I can give up the young fame
      I burn'd to win--
    All--but the spotless name
      I glory in!

    Thine is the power to give,
      Thine to deny,
    Joy for the hour I live--
      Calmness to die.
    By all the brave should cherish,
      By my dying breath,
    I ask that I may perish
      With a soldier's death!



            DISCRIMINATION.


    I used to love a radiant girl--
      Her lips were like a rose leaf torn;
    Her heart was as free as a floating curl,
      Or a breeze at morn;
    Her step as light as a Peri's daughter,
    And her eye as soft as gliding water.

    Witching thoughts like things half hid
      Lurk'd beneath her silken lashes,
    And a modest droop of the veined lid
      Oft hid their flashes--
    But to me the charm was more complete
    As the blush stole up its fringe to meet.

    Paint me love as a honey bee!
      Rosy mouths are things to sip;
    Nothing was ever so sweet to me
      As Marion's lip--
    Till I learned that a deeper magic lies
    In kissing the lids of her closed eyes.

    Her sweet brow I seldom touch,
      Save to part her raven hair;
    Her bright cheek I gaze on much,
      Her white hand is fair;
    But none of these--I've tried them all--
    Is like kissing her eyes as the lashes fall.



            THE SOLITARY.


    Alone! alone! How drear it is
      Always to be alone!
    In such a depth of wilderness,
      The only thinking one!
    The waters in their path rejoice,
      The trees together sleep--
    But I have not one silver voice
      Upon my ear to creep!

    The sun upon the silent hills
      His mesh of beauty weaves,
    There's music in the laughing rills
      And in the whispering leaves.
    The red deer like the breezes fly
      To meet the bounding roe,
    But I have not a human sigh
      To cheer me as I go.

    I've hated men--I hate them now--
      But, since they are not here,
    I thirst for the familiar brow--
      Thirst for the stealing tear.
    And I should love to see the one,
      And feel the other creep,
    And then again I'd be alone
      Amid the forest deep.

    I thought that I should love my hound,
      And hear my cracking gun
    Till I forgot the thrilling sound
      Of voices--one by one.
    I thought that in the leafy hush
      Of nature, they would die;
    But, as the hindered waters rush,
      Resisted feelings fly

    I'm weary of my lonely hut
      And of its blasted tree,
    The very lake is like my lot,
      So silent constantly.
    I've lived amid the forest gloom
      Until I almost fear--
    When will the thrilling voices come
      My spirit thirsts to hear?



            ON THE DEATH OF MISS FANNY V. APTHORP.


    'Tis difficult to feel that she is dead.
    Her presence, like the shadow of a wing
    That is just given to the upward sky,
    Lingers upon us. We can hear her voice,
    And for her step we listen, and the eye
    Looks for her wonted coming with a strange,
    Forgetful earnestness. We cannot feel
    That she will no more come--that from her cheek
    The delicate flush has faded, and the light
    Dead in her soft dark eye, and on her lip,
    That was so exquisitely pure, the dew
    Of the damp grave has fallen! Who, so lov'd,
    Is left among the living? Who hath walk'd
    The world with such a winning loveliness,
    And on its bright, brief journey, gather'd up
    Such treasures of affection? She was lov'd
    Only as idols are. She was the pride
    Of her familiar sphere--the daily joy
    Of all who on her gracefulness might gaze,
    And, in the light and music of her way,
    Have a companion's portion. Who could feel,
    While looking upon beauty such as hers,
    That it would ever perish! It is like
    The melting of a star into the sky
    While you are gazing on it, or a dream
    In its most ravishing sweetness rudely broken.



            A PORTRAIT.


    She was not very beautiful, if it be beauty's test
    To match a classic model when perfectly at rest;
    And she did not look bewitchingly, if witchery it be,
    To have a forehead and a lip transparent as the sea.

    The fashion of her gracefulness was not a follow'd rule,
    And her effervescent sprightliness was never learnt at school;
    And her words were all peculiar, like the fairy's who 'spoke pearls;'
    And her tone was ever sweetest midst the cadences of girls.

    Said I she was not beautiful? Her eyes upon your sight
    Broke with the lambent purity of planetary light,
    And an intellectual beauty, like a light within a vase,
    Touched every line with glory of her animated face.

    Her mind with sweets was laden, like a morning breath in June,
    And her thoughts awoke in harmony, like dreamings of a tune,
    And you heard her words like voices that o'er the waters creep,
    Or like a serenader's lute that mingles with your sleep.

    She had an earnest intellect--a perfect thirst of mind,
    And a heart by elevated thoughts and poetry refin'd,
    And she saw a subtle tint or shade with every careless look,
    And the hidden links of nature were familiar as a book.

    She's made of those rare elements that now and then appear,
    As if remov'd by accident unto a lesser sphere,
    Forever reaching up, and on, to life's sublimer things,
    As if they had been used to track the universe with wings.



            MAY.


    Oh the merry May has pleasant hours,
      And dreamily they glide,
    As if they floated like the leaves
      Upon a silver tide.
    The trees are full of crimson buds,
      And the woods are full of birds,
    And the waters flow to music
      Like a tune with pleasant words.

    The verdure of the meadow-land
      Is creeping to the hills,
    The sweet, blue-bosom'd violets
      Are blowing by the rills;
    The lilac has a load of balm
      For every wind that stirs,
    And the larch stands green and beautiful
      Amid the sombre firs.

    There's perfume upon every wind--
      Music in every tree--
    Dews for the moisture-loving flowers--
      Sweets for the sucking bee;
    The sick come forth for the healing South,
      The young are gathering flowers;
    And life is a tale of poetry,
      That is told by golden hours.

    If 'tis not a true philosophy,
      That the spirit when set free
    Still lingers about its olden home,
      In the flower and the tree,
    It is very strange that our pulses thrill
      At the tint of a voiceless thing,
    And our hearts yearn so with tenderness
      In the beautiful time of Spring.



            ON SEEING THROUGH A DISTANT WINDOW
               A BELLE COMPLETING HER TOILET
                        FOR A BALL.


    'Tis well--'tis well--that clustering shade
    Is on thy forehead sweetly laid;
    And that light curl that slumbers by
    Makes deeper yet thy depth of eye;
    And that white rose that decks thy hair
    Just wins the eye to linger there,
    Yet makes it not to note the less
    The beauty of that raven tress.

    Thy coral necklace?--ear-rings too?
    Nay--nay--not them--no darker hue
    Than thy white bosom be to-night
    On that fair neck the bar of light,
    Or hide the veins that faintly glow
    And wander in its living snow.

    What!--yet another? can it be
    That neck needs ornament to thee?--
    Yet not thy jewels!--they are bright,
    But that dark eye has softer light,
    And tho' each gem had been a star,
    Thy simple self were lovelier far--
    Yet stay!--that string of matchless pearl?
    Nay--wear it--wear it--radiant girl!
    For ocean's best of pure and white
    Should only be thy foil to-night.

    Aye, turn thee round! 'tis lovely all--
    Thou'lt have no peer at that gay ball!
    And that proud toss!--it makes thee smile
    To see how deep is thine own wile;
    And that slow look that seems to stray
    As each sweet feature made it stay--
    And that small finger, lightly laid
    On dimpled cheek and glossy braid,
    As if to know that all they seem
    Is really there, and not a dream--
    I wish I knew the gentle thought
    By all this living beauty wrought!
    I wish I knew if that sweet brow,
    That neck on which thou gazest now--
    If thy rich lip and brilliant face--
    Thy perfect figure's breezy grace--
    If these are half the spell to thee
    That will, this night, bewilder me!



            TO A BELLE.


    All that thou art, I thrillingly
      And sensibly do feel;
    For my eye doth see, and my ear doth hear,
      And my heart is not of steel;
    I meet thee in the festal hall--
      I turn thee in the dance--
    And I wait, as would a worshipper,
      The giving of thy glance.

    Thy beauty is as undenied
      As the beauty of a star;
    And thy heart beats just as equally,
      Whate'er thy praises are;
    And so long without a parallel
      Thy loveliness hath shone,
    That, follow'd like the tided moon,
      Thou mov'st as calmly on.

    Thy worth I, for myself, have seen--
      I know that thou art leal;
    Leal to a woman's gentleness,
      And thine own spirit's weal;
    Thy thoughts are deeper than a dream,
      And holier than gay;
    And thy mind is a harp of gentle strings,
      Where angel fingers play.

    I know all this--I feel all this--
      And my heart believes it true;
    And my fancy hath often borne me on,
      As a lover's fancies do;
    And I have a heart, that is strong and deep,
      And would love with its human all,
    And it waits for a fetter that's sweet to wear,
      And would bound to a silken thrall.

    But it loves not thee.--It would sooner bind
      Its thoughts to the open sky;
    It would worship as soon a familiar star,
      That is bright to every eye.
    'Twere to love the wind that is sweet to all--
      The wave of the beautiful sea--
    'Twere to hope for all the light in Heaven,
      To hope for the love of thee.

    But wert thou lowly--yet leal as now;
      Rich but in thine own mind;
    Humble--in all but the queenly brow;
      And to thine own glory blind--
    Were the world to prove but a faithless thing,
      And worshippers leave thy shrine--
    My love were, then, but a gift for thee,
      And my strong deep heart were thine.



            A PORTRAIT.


    She's beautiful! Her raven curls
    Have broken hearts in envious girls--
    And then they sleep in contrast so,
    Like raven feathers upon snow,
    And bathe her neck--and shade the bright
    Dark eye from which they catch the light,
    As if their graceful loops were made
    To keep that glorious eye in shade,
    And holier make its tranquil spell,
    Like waters in a shaded well.

    I cannot rhyme about that eye--
    I've match'd it with a midnight sky--
    I've said 'twas deep, and dark, and wild,
    Expressive, liquid, witching, mild--
    But the jewell'd star, and the living air
    Have nothing in them half so fair.

    She's noble--noble--one to keep
    Embalm'd for dreams of fever'd sleep--
    An eye for nature--taste refin'd,
    Perception swift, and ballanc'd mind,--
    And more than all, a gift of thought
    To such a spirit-fineness wrought,
    That on my ear her language fell,
    As if each word dissolv'd a spell.

    Yet I half hate her. She has all
    That would ensure an angel's fall--
    But there's a cool collected look,
    As if her pulses beat by book--
    A measure'd tone, a cold reply,
    A management of voice and eye,
    A calm, possess'd, authentic air,
    That leaves a doubt of softness there,
    'Till--look and worship as I may--
    My fever'd thoughts will pass away.

    And when she lifts her fringing lashes,
    And her dark eye like star-light flashes--
    And when she plays her quiet wile
    Of that calm look, and measur'd smile,
    I go away like one who's heard
    In some fine scene the prompter's word,
    And make a vow to break her chain,
    And keep it--till we meet again.



ERRATA.--16th page, 10th line from top, "as _if_ it were" for "as it
were." Same page 11th line from top "incense" for "insense." 46th page,
11th line from the bottom, "go its channel" for "go _up_ its channel."
Page 60, 2nd line, "As you like it," for "Much ado about Nothing." In
the table of Contents "A Portrait," page 90, is omitted.


    Transcriber's notes

      Original spelling retain'd.

      Errata not corrected.
        The Table of Contents is also missing a reference to
        Sonnet. Winter Page 72.

      Typographical errors corrected.
        Page 86 to night corrected to to-night.





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