Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Work-work-work!

My labor never flags;
And what are its wages? A bed of straw,

A crust of bread-and rags;
This shattered roof, and this naked floor-

A table-a broken chair-
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank

For sometimes falling there!
Work-work-work

From weary chime to chime; Work-work-work,

As prisoners work for crime! Band and gusset and seam,

Seam and gusset and band, Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed,

As well as the weary hand. Work-work-work

In the dull December light, And work-work-work

When the weather is warm and bright;
While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs,

And vit me with the spring.
Oh! but to breathe the breath

Of the cowslip and primrose sweetWith the sky above my head,

And the grass beneath my feet ! For only one short hour

To feel as I used to feel, Before I knew the woes of want

And the walk that costs a meal!
Oh! but for one short hour

A respite, however brief!
No blessed leisure for love or hope,

But only time for grief!
A little weeping would ease my heart,

But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop

Hinders needle and thread!
O men with sisters dear!

O men with mothers and wives ! It is not linen you 're wearing out,

But human creatures' lives! Stitch-stitch—stich,

In poverty, hunger, and dirt, Sewing at once with a double thread A shroud as well as a shirt.

But why do I talk of Death ?

That phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,

It seems so like my awn-
It seems so like my own

Because of the fasts I keep.
O God! that bread should be so dear,

And flesh and blood so cheap!"

HAMLET'S ADVICE TO THE PLAYERS. SHAKESPEARE.

Speak the spcech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus : but use all gently: for in the very torrent,- tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul to see a robustious periwigpated fellow tear a passion to tatters,-to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise : I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod. Pray you, avoid it. Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature; for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as 't were, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this, overdonc or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, can not but make the judicious grieve; the censure of the which one must, in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theater of others. Oh, there be players that I have seen play-and heard others praise, and that highly-not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.

MOONBEAMS.
Sitting in the dusky light,
Watching shadows of the night
Darkly fall o'er distant hill
While the world is calm and still,
Moonbeams come with fairy gleams,
Filling all my heart with dreams,
Lighting up the days by-gone,
Hallowing all the years to come.
Shimmering through the leaves so bright,
Dancing on the casement white,
Falling golden on the floor,
Beams of radiance round me pour;

Golden glories glad the gloom,
Streams of gold light up the room;
Ever dancing, ever gay,
Round me gentle moonbeams play,
Dancing joyous at my feet,
Weaving golden threads so sweet,
With dark fancies woof the night,
Giving glimmerings of the light
That will gild my future years,
Making rainbows of my tears.
Then, all ye darker thoughts, away
While sweet moonbeams round me play.

FAIRY BELLS AND BRIDGES.

Brightly danced the shimmering moonlight over Oberon's fair isle,
Hallowing mountain, vale, and river with its mellow, lambent smile;
Peering through the moaning forest as it echoed Ocean's roar,
Flecking with a wild mosaic all its hidden mossy floor;

Not more lightly,

Not more brightly,
Than at midnight danced the fairies its bewildering mazes o'er.
Sweetly fell the tinkling music of their tiny tripping feet,
As they rose and fell so airily, in low, harmonious beat;
And their gem-bespangled garments rustled in the giddy round,
Blithely whirling out their gladness on the moonlit forest ground;-

Far more cheerily,

Far more merrily, Than upon Rinaldo's spirit fell the strange discordant sound ! For he sought the lonely forest at the silent midnight hour, That its passion-hushing stillness o'er his spirit might have power, For the maiden that he worshiped laughed his trembling love to scornHe was but an humble peasant-she a noble lady born!

And the dancing

Sprites, advancing In their merry whirl, seemed mocking every trembling hope forlorn. Suddenly toward Rinaldo they approached in bright array, Closed about the 'wildered lover, and began a dance more gay, Singing blithely to the measure of their tiny tripping feet, As they fell and rose so nimbly in their low harmonious beat! “We can see the lights and shadows play around the hapless loverWe can build our fairy bridges so that love will soon pass over; We've a curb and we've a bridle that will fit the proudest maiden, And we've golden bells to grace them-golden bells with true love laden.

Oh! the fairies weave the meshes

Of the net which Cupid holds,
And the tiny bells they tinkle

Are the bait with which he trolls.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

While they throw their curb and bridle
Over all that he enfolds !
Set the fairy bells to ringing!
Cure the heart that pride is stinging!
Build a bridge the slighted lover
May unto his bride pass over!”
Oh, the ringing of the bells !

How across the heart it swells !
And Rinaldo's spirit dances at the ringing of the bells;

Noble pride his heart is filling,

O'er his breast a joy distilling
With the ringing joyous music of the golden fairy bells !

Then a shaking
And a quaking,

Lo, the forest sod is breaking!
And Corilla stands before him, at the ringing of the bells !

Oh, the ringing of the bells,

How across the heart it swells !
And Corilla's spirit dances with the ringing of the bells !
The scorn that curled her ruby lip—the pride that fired her eye,
The fairy-bells had brought them wings, and taught them how to fy;
And when the merry music ceased a smile beamed o'er her face,
Such as before Rinaldo's eye in vain had sought to trace;

Then a rustling

And a bustling, And their ranks the fairies parted:

Then advancing

Gaily dancing,
Both Corilla and Rinaldo as from out a dream were started.

Lips had met—and each gay fairy
Shouted for the bridge, so airy!
Lips had met-and bells were ringing,
And each elfin sprite was singing:
“We can crush the pride so hollow,
Making room for love to follow!
We can build a bridge the lover
May unto his bride pass over!”

THE HUMAN BRAIN.

What a strange thing is the human brain, the seat both of physical sensetion and of spiritual perception! Who shall say how intimately the two are blended—how far their kingdoms are extended over each other!

When we reflect upon the fact that nothing is ever entirely forgotten—that although we may not recall at our will the memory of what once was learned or known, yet that every thought we once had is still stored away in those small, strange chambers within our heads, it is enough to inspire us with awe at our own being; and still more, at the wonderful Power which fashioned us. Recollec

tions of the past called back by the association of the perfume of a flower or a strain of music; the memories which rush through the brain of the drowning or the falling man, showing him every event of his life treasured up within him; the ravings of the old Scotch servant, who talked Hebrew in her delirium-all go to prove that nothing is ever wholly lost which once was ours. How strange to think of these silent, unconscious inhabitants slumbering within our brain, which may at any time start up in witness of past pain and pleasure, error and good! Space they can not occupy, for they are multitudinous beyond expression, yet they are local. Spiritual they are, but indefinitely connected with matter. They belong to us, and not to another. They are in our heads, and not in our feet. What is it that thus chains the material to the immaterial? Secrets hidden away in the keeping of God are many of them mysteries, and vain is the attempt of science and philosophy to expound them. Science may explain all laws of matter, but not the laws of mind; they are of the impenetralia of the spiritual.”

THE KATYDID. 0. W. HOLMES.
I love to hear thine earnest voice

Wherever thou art hid,
Thou testy little dogmatist,

Thou pretty Katydid!
Thou 'mindest me of gentlefolks,-

Old gentlefolks are they,–
Thou say'st an undisputed thing

In such a solemn way.
Thou art a female, Katydid !

I know it by the trill
That quivers through thy piercing notes,

So petulant and shrill.
I think there is a knot of you

Beneath the hollow tree,
A knot of spinster Katydids ;-

Do Katydids drink tea ?
Oh, tell me where did Katy live,

And what did Katy do?
And was she very fair and young,

And yet so wicked too?
Did Katy love a naughty man,

Or kiss more cheeks than one?
I warrant Katy did no more

Than many a Kate has done.
Dear me! I'll tell you all about

My fuss with little Jane
And Ann, with whom I used to walk

So often down the lane,
And all that tore their locks of black,

Or wet their eyes of blue,
Pray tell me, sweetest Katydid,

What did poor Katy do?

« AnteriorContinuar »