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O, then what joy to walk at will,
What joy in dreamy ease to lie
Amid a field new-shorn, And see all round on sun-lit slopes The piled-up shocks of corn, And send the fancy wandering o'er All pleasant harvest-fields of yore.
I feel the day; I see the field;
The quivering of the leaves And good old Jacob and his house Binding the yellow sheaves; And at this very hour I seem To be with Joseph in his dream.
I see the fields of Bethlehem,
And reapers many a one, Bending unto their sickles' stroke, And Boaz looking on; And Ruth, the Moabitess fair, Among the gleaners stooping there.
Again, I see a little child,
His mother's sole delight; God's living gift of love unto
The kind, good Shunamite; To mortal pangs I see him yield, And the lad bear him from the field.
The sun-bathed quiet of the hills;
And the dear Saviour take his way
O golden fields of bending corn,
How beautiful they seem!-The reaper-folk, the piled-up sheaves, To me are like a dream; The sunshine and the very air Seem of old time, and take me there!
THE TWO ESTATES.
They eat from gold and silver all luxuries wealth can buy ;
They sleep on beds of softest down, in chambers rich and high.
They dwell in lordly houses, with gardens round about,
And servants to attend them if they go in or out.
They have music for the hearing, and pictures for the eye,
And exquisite and costly things each sense to gratify.
No wonder they are beautiful! and if they chance to die,
Among dead lords and ladies, in the chancel vault they lie.
With marble tablets on the wall inscribed, that all may know,
The children of the rich man are mouldering below.
The children of the poor man, around the humble doors
They throng of city alleys and solitary moors.
In hot and noisy factories they turn the ceaseless wheel,
And eat with feeble appetite their coarse and joyless meal.
They rise up in the morning, ne'er dreaming of delight;
And weary, spent, and heart-sore, they go to bed at night.
They have no brave apparel, with golden clasp and gem;
So their clothes keep out the weather they're good enough for them.
Their hands are broad and horny; they hunger, and are cold;
They learn what toil and sorrow mean ere they are five years old.
-The poor man's child must step aside if the rich man's child go by;
And scarcely aught may minister to his little vanity.
The children of the rich old man no carking care And of what could he be vain ?-his most beautiful they know,
Like lilies in the sunshine how beautiful they grow! Is what the rich man's children have worn and cast
And well may they be beautiful; in raiment of the best,
In velvet, gold, and ermine, their little forms are drest.
With a hat and jaunty feather set lightly on their head,
The finely spun, the many-hued, the new, are not for him,
He must clothe himself, with thankfulness, in garments soiled and dim.
And golden hair, like angels' locks, over their shoul- He sees the children of the rich in chariots gay go by, ders spread.
And well may they be beautiful; they toil not, neither spin,
Nor dig, nor delve, nor do they aught their daily bread to win.
And what a heavenly life is their's," he sayeth with a sigh.
Then straightway to his work he goeth, for feeble though he be,
His daily toil must still be done to help the family.
AT that sweet hour of even,
When nightingales awake, Low-bending o'er her first-born son, An anxious mother spake. "Thou child of prayer and blessing, Would that my soul could know, What the unending future holds For thee of joy or woe.
"Thy life, will it be gladness,
A sunny path of flowers;—
"Oh child of love and blessing,
What time may make of thee!
"Yet of the unveiled future
Would knowledge might be given!" Then voices of the unseen ones
Made answer back from heaven.
"Tears he must shed unnumbered;
"Must learn that joy is mockery;
That man doth mask his heart; Must prove the trusted faithless; And see the loved depart!
"Must feel himself alone, alone;
Must weep when none can see; Then lock his grief, like treasure up, For lack of sympathy.
"Must prove all human knowledge
"Well may'st thou weep, fond mother;-
"Rejoice, rejoice, fond mother, Thou hast given birth,
To this immortal being,
To this sweet child of earth!
"The pearl within the ocean,
"Oh fond and anxious mother,
"Love to enfold all natures
In one benign embrace;
"Bless God both night and morning;
For the child of mortal parents hath
"The stars shall dim their brightness;
The earth shall fade, but ne'er shall fade The undying human soul!
"Oh then rejoice fond mother, That thou hast given birth To this immortal being,
To this fair child of earth!"
THIS WORLD AND THE NEXT.
How goodly is the earth!
Look round about and see
Is not of stinted measure;
Its mountain-tops behold;
Its wealth of flocks and herds;
Behold the radiant isles
The gracious showers descend;
How goodly is the earth!
Yet if this earth be made So goodly wherein all
That is shall droop and fade; Wherein the glorious light
Hath still its fellow, shade;So goodly, where is strife Ever 'twixt death and life; Where trouble dims the eye; Where sin hath mastery; How much more bright and fair, Will be that region, where The saints of God shall rest Rejoicing with the blessed;Where pain is not, nor death,The Paradise of God!
A LIFE'S SORROW.
My life hath had its curse; and I will tell
I had a brother. As a spring of joy
I was the elder; and as years passed on
Still he was dear to me, and I would gaze
His godlike form, and the fair lineament
Strange was it, that a brother, thus my pride, Grew to my friendship so estranged and cold; Strange was it, that kind spirits erst allied
By kindred fellowship, so proved of old, Were sundered and to separate interests sold! I know not how it was; but pride was strong In either breast, and did the other wrong. There was another cause-we fiercely strove In an ambitious race;- but worse than all, We met, two rival combatants in love:
My brother was the victor, and my fall, Maddening my jealous pride, turned love to gall. There was no lingering kindness more. We parted, Each on his separate way, the severed-hearted. For years we met not; met not till we stood, Silent and moody, by our father's bed, Each with his hatred seemingly subdued
Whilst in the presence of that reverent head: Surely our steadfast rancour might have fled When that good father joined our hands and smiled, And died believing we were reconciled!
And so we might have been; but there were those
We were the victims of the arts we scorned;
The courtly world: his wit and manners bland
Ere long he left his native land, and went
Into the East with pomp and power girt round. And so years past: the morn of life was spent, And manhood's noon advanced with splendour crowned;
They said 'mid kingly luxury without bound, He dwelt in joy; and that his blessings ever Flowed like that land's unmeasured, bounteous river. And the world worshipped him, for he was greatGreat in the council, greater in the field. And I too had my blessings, for I sate
Amid my little ones: the fount unsealed
I dwelt within my home an altered man ;
As the chill snows of winter melt away
For pardon, pardoning all; my soul was blessed With answered love, and hopes whereon to rest My joy in years to come; I asked no more, The cup of that rich blessedness ran o'er. Alas! even then the brightness of my life
Again grew dim; my fount of joy was dried; My soul was doomed to bear a heavier strife Than it had borne! - my children at my side In their meek, loving beauty, drooped and died First they, and then their mother! Did I weep? No, tears are not for griefs intense and deep! Ah me! those weary days, those painful nights, When voices from the dead were in mine ear,
And I had visions of my lost delights,
And saw the lovely and the loving near,
"I will arise," I cried. like him of yore,
The conscience-stricken prodigal, and lay
And, I have sinned, my brother! I will say
I gathered up my strength; I asked of none
I was like one from cruel bonds set free,
Then woke and knew my home so dim and drear! Through the great cities of the East I passed What marvel if I prayed that I might die, In my soul's great, unchastened misery!
I had known sorrow, and remorse, and shame,
That they had died for my unpardoned crime!
Engulphed in deadness for a season's space. At length light beamed; a ray of heavenly grace Upon my bowed and darkened spirit lay, Healing its wounds and giving power to pray. I rose a sorrowing man, and yet renewed:
Resigned, although abashed to the dust; I felt that God was righteous, true, and good, And though severe in awful judgment, just; Therefore in him I put undoubting trust, And walked once more among my fellow-men, Yet in their vain joys mingling not again. My home was still a solitude; none sought Nor found in me companion; yet I pined For something which might win my weary thought From its deep anguish; some strong, generous mind, Round which my lorn affections might be twined: Some truthful heart on which mine own might lean, And still from life some scattered comfort glean. The dead, alas! I sorrowed for the dead,
Until well-nigh my madness had returned;
I seemed to hear his footsteps light and free
Of his rich voice came back with sweeter might!
Into the kingdom where he reigned supreme;
As the creation of a poet's dream :-
Hard by there was a grove of cypress trees;
A place, as if for mourning spirits made; Thither I sped, my burdened heart to ease,
And weep unseen within the secret shade. A mighty woe that cypress grove displayed! Oh let me weep! you will not say that tears Wrung by that sorrow can be stanched by years.
There was a tomb; a tomb as of a king;
A gorgeous palace of the unconscious dead. My heart died in me, like the failing wing
Of the struck bird, as on that wall I read
I lay for hours; and when my sense returned
It seemed each star was as a heavenly eye Looking upon my sorrow;- thus I deemed, And sate within the tomb till morning beamed.
-For this I crossed the sea: in those far wilds,
I came back to the scenes where life began,
I murmur not; but with submissive will
THE OLD FRIEND AND THE NEW.
My old friend, he was a good old friend,
I found him unlike the one I had lost!
I and my friend, we were bred together: —
I could sit with him and crack many a joke,
For my old friend would not have slighted me!
Oh my fine new friend, he is smooth and bland,
He hums the last new opera air.
He takes not the children on his knee;
My faithful hound reproacheth me,
For he snarls when my new friend draweth near,
As change the old friend for the new!
My rare old friend, he read the plays,
For there is no bond between us twain;`
MABEL ON MIDSUMMER DAY.
A STORY OF THE OLDEN TIME.
"Arise, my maiden, Mabel,"
For the golden sun of Midsummer
For thou must speed away,
This wheaten cake so fine;
This little flask of wine!
"And tell the dear old body,
This day I cannot come,
For the good man went out yester-morn, And he is not come home.
"And more than this, poor Amy
Upon my knee doth lie;
I fear me, with this fever-pain
"And thou can'st help thy grandmother;
And thou can'st make her bed.
"And thou can'st fetch the water,
"Can'st go down to the lonesome glen,
"But listen now, my Mabel,
This is Midsummer-day, When all the fairy people
From elf-land come away.
"And when thou art in lonesome glen, Keep by the running burn,
And do not pluck the strawberry flower, Nor break the lady-fern.
"But think not of the fairy folk, Lest mischief should befall; Think only of poor Amy,
And how thou lov'st us all.