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lines of lifted cloud, casting a new glory on every wreath as it passes by, until the whole heaven, one scarlet canopy, is interwoven with a roof of waving flame, and tossing, vault beyond vault, as with the drifted wings of many companies of angels : and then, when you can look no more for gladness, and when you are bowed down with fear and love of the Maker and Doer of this, tell me who has best delivered this His message unto men !

JOHN RUSKIN.

THE CLOUD.

I.

I BRING fresh showers for the thirsting flowers

From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,

As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder!

II.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,

And their great pines groan aghast ;
And all the night ’tis my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers,

Lightning my pilot sits,
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,

It struggles and howls at fits ;

Over earth and ocean with gentle motion,

This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move

In the depths of the purple sea ;
Over the rills, and the crags and the hills,

Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,

The Spirit he loves remains ;
And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile,

Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

III.

sit

The sanguine sunrise with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread, Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,

When the morning star shines dead, As on the jag of a mountain crag,

Which an earthquake rocks and swings, An eagle alit, one moment may

In the light of its golden wings. And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,

Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of heaven above,
With wings folded I rest on mine airy nest,

As still as a brooding dove.

IV.

That orbed maiden with white fire laden,

Whom mortals call the moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,

By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,

Which only the angels hear,

May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,

The stars peep behind her and peer ; And I laugh to see them whirl and flee

Like a swarm of golden bees,

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When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,

Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas, Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,

Are each paved with the moon and these.

V.

I bind the sun's throne with a burning zone,

And the moon's with a girdle of pearl ;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,

When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,

Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam proof, I hang like a roof,

The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march,

With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the powers of the air are chained to my chair,

Is the million-coloured bow ;
The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,

While the moist earth was laughing below.

VI.

I am the daughter of earth and water,

And the nursling of the sky; I pass through the

pores of the ocean and shores ; I change, but I cannot die. For after the rain, when with never a stain,

The pavilion of heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams,

Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,

And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

P. B. SHELLEY,

GRASS.

GATHER a single blade of grass, and examine for a minute, quietly, its narrow, sword-shaped strip of fluted green. Nothing, as it seems, there of notable goodness or beauty. A very little strength, and a very little tallness, and a few delicate long lines meeting in a point,-not a perfect point either, but blunt and unfinished, by no means a creditable, or apparently much-cared-for example of Nature's workmanship; made, as it seems, only to be trodden on to-day, and to-morrow to be cast into the oven ; and a little pale and hollow stalk, feeble and flaccid, leading down to the dull brown fibres of roots. And yet, think of it well, and judge whether of all the gorgeous flowers that beam in summer air, and of all strong and goodly trees, pleasant to the eyes or good for food -stately palm and pine, strong ash and oak, scented citron, burdened vine,—there be any by man so deeply loved, by God so highly graced, as that narrow point of feeble green.

It seems to me not to have been without a peculiar significance that our Lord, when about to work the miracle which, of all that He showed, appears to have been felt by the multitude as the most impressive—the miracle of the loaves—commanded the people to sit down by companies ‘upon the green grass.' He was about to feed them with the principal produce of earth and the sea, the simplest representations of the food of mankind. He gave them the seed of the herb; He bade them sit down upon the herb itself, which was as great a gift, in its fitness for their joy and rest, as its perfect fruit for their sustenance ; thus, in this single order and act, when rightly understood, indicating for evermore how the Creator had entrusted the comfort, consolation, and sustenance of man to the simplest and most despised of all the leafy families of the earth.

And well does it fulfil its mission. Consider what we owe merely to the meadow grass, to the covering of the dark

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