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WHEN do I love you most, sweet books of mine?
In strenuous morns when o'er your leaves I pore,
Austerely bent to win austerest love,
Forgetting how the dewy meadows shine;
Or afternoons when honeysuckles twine
About the seat, and to some dreamy shore
Of old Romance, where lovers evermore
Keep blissful hours, I follow at your sign?
Yea! ye are precious then, but most to me
Ere lamplight dawneth, when low croons the fire
To whispering twilight in my little room,
And eyes read not, but sitting silently
I feel your great hearts throbbing deep in quire,
And hear you breathing round me in the gloom.
A NAKED house, a naked moor,
A shivering pool before the door,
A garden bare of flowers and fruit,
And poplars at the garden foot;
Such is the place that I live in,
Bleak without and bare within.
Yet shall your ragged moors receive
The incomparable pomp of eve,
And the cold glories of the dawn
Behind your shivering trees be drawn;
And when the wind from place to place
Doth the unmoored cloud galleons chase,
Your garden blooms and gleams again
With leaping sun and glancing rain;
Here shall the wizard moon ascend
The heavens, in the crimson end
Of day's declining splendor; here,
The army of the stars appear.
The neighbor hollows, dry or wet,
Spring shall with tender flowers beset;
And oft the morning muser see
Larks rising from the broomy lea,
And every fairy wheel and thread
Of cobweb dew dediamonded.
When daisies go, shall winter time
Silver the simple grass with rime;
Autumnal frosts enchant the pool
And make the cart ruts beautiful.
And when snow bright the moor expands,
How shall your children clap their hands!
To make this earth our heritage,
A cheerful and a changeful page,
God's intricate and bright device
Of days and seasons doth suffice.
The merry Homes of England !
Around their hearths by night,
What gladsome looks of household love
Meet in the ruddy light.
There woman's voice flows forth in song,
Or childish tale is told ;
Or lips move tunefully along
Some glorious page of old.
An olil farm-house with meadows wide,
Anel swert with clover on each side ;
A bright-eyed boy, who looks from out
The door with woodbine wreathed about,
And wishes his one thought all day :
“0, if I coulil but fly away
From this dull spot, the world to see,
How happy, happy, hapry,
llow liuppy I should be !"
Amiil the city's constant din,
A man who round the world has been,
Who, nid the tumult and the throng,
Is thinking, thinking all day long:
“1), could I only tread once more
The field-path to the farm-house door,
The old, green meadow could I see,
How happy, happy, happy,
How happy I should be !”
ANNIE D. GREEN (Varian Douglas).
The blessed Hoines of England !
How softly on their bowers
Is laid the holy quietness
That breathes from Sabbath hours !
Solemn, yet sweet, the church-bell's chime
Floats through their wools at morn ;
All other sounds, in that still time,
Of breeze and leaf are born.
The cottage Homes of England !
By thonsands on her plains,
They are smiling o'er the silvery brooks,
And round the hamlet-fanes.
Through glowing orchards forth they peep,
Each from its nook of leaves ;
And fearless there the lowly sleep,
As the bird beneath their eaves.
The free, fair Homes of England !
Long, long in hut and hall,
May hearts of native proof be reared
To guard each hallowed wall !
And green forever be the groves,
Ar:d bright the flowery sod,
Where first the child's glad spirit loves
Its country and its God.
FROM "THE TRAVELLER." Brot where to find that happiest spot below, Who can direct, when all pretend to know? The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone Bolilly proclaims that happiest spot his own ; Extols the treasures of his stormy seas, And his long nights of revelry and ease : The naked negro, panting at the line, Borists of his golden sands and palmy wine, Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave, Anil thanks his gods for all the good they gave. Surd is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam, His first, best country, ever is at home. And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare, And estimate the blessings which they share, Thongh patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find An equal portion dealt to all mankind ; As diferent good, by art or nature given To different nations makes their blessing even.
The farmer sat in his easy-chair,
Smoking his pipe of clay,
While his hale old wife, with busy care,
Was clearing the dinner away ;
A sweet little girl, with fine blue eyes,
On her grandfather's knee was catching flies.
The old man laid his hand on her head,
With a tear on his wrinkled face ;
He thought how often her mother, dead,
Had sat in the self-same place. As the tear stole down from his half-shut eye, “Don't smoke !" said the child ; "how it makes
The house-dog lay stretched out on the floor,
Where the shade after noon used to steal ; The busy old wife by the open door,
Was turning the spinning-wheel ; And the old brass clock on the mantel-tree Had ploduled along to almost three.
Still the farmer sat in his easy-chair,
While close to !is heaving breast
The moistened brow and the cheek so fair
Of his sweet gravdchild were pressed ;
His head, bent down), on her soft hair lay:
Fast asleep were they both, that summer day !
CHARLES GAMAGE EASTMAN.
Athwart the boyish faces there,
In sleep so pitiful and fair ;
I saw on Jamie's rough, red cheek
A tear undried. Ere John could speak
“ He's but a baby, too,” said 1,
And kissed him as we hurried by.
Pale, patient Robbie's angel face
Still in his sleep bore suffering's trace.
“No, for a thousand crowns, not him!"
He whispered while our eyes were dim.
Poor Dick ! bad Dick ! our wayward son,
Turbulent, reckless, idle one -
Could he he spared ? Nay; He who gave,
Bid us befriend him to his grave;
Only a mother's heart can be
Patient enough for such as he ;
"And so,” said John, “I would not dare
To send him from our bedside prayer."
Then stole we softly up above
And kuelt by Mary, child of love.
Perhaps for her 't would better be,"
I said to John. Quite silently
He lifted up a curl that lay
Across her cheek in wilful way,
And shook his head : “Nay, love; not thee,'
The while my heart beat audibly.
Only one more, our eldest lad,
Trusty and truthful, good and glad -
So like his father, " No, John, no
I cannot, will not, let him go.”
And so we wrote, in courteous way,
We could not drive one child away ;
And afterward toil lighter seemed,
Thinking of that of which we dreamed,
Happy in truth that not one face
Was missed from its accustomed place;
Thankful to work for all the seven,
Trusting the rest to One in heaven.
“Which shall it be? Which shall it be ?"
I looked at John - John looked at me
(Dear, patient John, who loves me yet
As well as though my locks were jet);
And when I found that I must speak,
My voice seemed strangely low and weak :
“ Tell me again what Robert said."
And then I, listening, bent my head.
“ This is his letter : ‘I will give
A house and land while you shall live,
If, in return, from out your seven,
One child to me for aye is given.'
I looked at John's old garments worn,
I thought of all that John had borne
of poverty and work and care,
Which I, though willing, could not share ;
I thought of seven mouths to feed,
Of seven little children's need,
And then of this. “Come, John," said I,
“We'll choose among them as they lie
Asleep ;” so, walking hand in hand,
Dear John and I surveyed our band.
First to the cradle lightly stepped,
Where Lilian, the baby, slept,
A glory 'gainst the pillow white,
Softly the father stooped to lay
His rough hand down in a gentle way,
When dream or whisper made her stir,
And huskily he said, “Not her, not her !”
We stopped beside the trundle- bed,
And one long ray of lamplight shed
When the lessons and tasks are all ended,
And the school for the day is dismissed, And the little ones gather around me,
To bid me good night and be kissed ; O the little white arms that encircle
My neck in their tender embrace ! O the smiles that are balos of heaven,
Shedding sunshine of love on my face !
And when they are gone, I sit dreaming
Of my childhood, too lovely to last ; Of love that my heart will remember
When it wakes to the pulse of the past,
Ere the world and its wickedness made me
A partner of sorrow and sin,
When the glory of God was about me,
And the glory of gladness within.
All my heart grows weak as a woman's,
And the fountains of feeling will flow, When I think of the paths steep and stony,
Where the feet of the dear ones must go ; Of the mountains of sin hanging o'er them,
Of the tempest of Fate blowing wild ; 0, there's nothing on earth half so holy
As the innocent heart of a child !
They are idols of hearts and of households ;
They are angels of Goil in disguise ; His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses,
His glory still gleams in their eyes ; O, these truants from home and from heaven,
They have made me more manly and mild ; And I know now how Jesus could liken
The kingdom of God to a child ?
I ask not a life for the dear ones,
All radiant, as others have done,
But that life may have just enough shadow
To temper the glare of the sun ;
I would pray God to guard them from evil,
But my prayer would bound back to myself ; Ah ! a seraph may pray for a sinner,
But a sinner must pray for himself. The twig is so easily bended,
I have banished the rule and the rod ; I have taught them the goodness of knowledge,
They have taught me the goodness of God. My heart is the dungeon of darkness,
Where I shut them for breaking a rule ;
My frown is sufficient correction ;
My love is the law of the school.
I shall leave the old house in the autumn,
To traverse its threshold no more;
Ah ! how shall I sigh for the dear ones
That meet me each morn at the door!,
I shall miss the “good nights" and the kisses,
And the gush of their innocent glee, The group on its green, and the flowers
That are brought every morning to me. I shall miss them at morn and at even,
Their song in the school and the street ; I shall iniss the low hum of their voices,
And the tread of their delicate feet. When the lessons of life are all ended,
And death says, “The school is dismissed !" May the little ones gather around me,
To bid me good night and be kissed!