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100

CHOICE SELECTIONS,

No.12.

THEN AND NOW—1776-1876.—F. W. Fish.

Looking back a hundred years,

And comparing the now and then,
It seems to me that in spite of fears

The country has earnest men,
As willing to draw the sword for right,

As ready to wield the pen.

It seems to me that in faithful hearts

The currents yet ebb and flow,
With a constant motion that still imparts

As steady and clear a glow
Of zeal for freedom's glorious arts,

As a hundred years ago.

It seems to me that in field and forge,

By river and by rill,
In fertile plain and mountain gorge,

In city and hamlet, still
They live as they did in the days of King George,

Of Concord and Bunker Hill.

I do not know that the hands are weak,

Or the brain unused to plan;
That the tongue delays the truth to speak,

Or the foot to march in the van;
But I know full well that we need not seek

In vain for a Minute Man.

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I

There are men to-day who would stand alone

On the bridge Horatius kept;
There are men who would fight at Marathon,

Who would battle with Stark at Bennington
When flashing from sabre and flint-lock gun

The fires of freedom leapt.

It is better to look back with pride and boast,—

It is well to look ahead;
The past to all is a dream at most,

The future is life instead;
And standing unmoved at your duty's post

Is truthfully praising the dead.

"GOD IS NOWHERE."

AN ACTUAL OCCURRENCE.

A hard, stern man upon a sick bed lay,
More and more feeble with each passmg day;
No hallowing dream of heavenly peace was there,
No ray of love divine—no breath of prayer.

Kind Christian friends, on holiest mission bent,
Came bright and hopeful—sad and anxious went;
Harder and sterner still the Atheist grew,
The flinty heart no answering softness knew.

Angry at last at each persistent call.

With firm refusal he denied them all;

The Saviour's sacred name ho would not hear,

His loving words could find no listening ear.

"Wife, fetch the blackboard and a bit of chalk!
One way remains to stop this senseless talk;
I will write something which is truth indeed,
And have it placed where every one may read."

The thin, weak hand that scarce the chalk could hold,
Wrote " God is nowhere," very large and bold;
The fearful sentence met his waking sight
In wretched mockery, by day and night.

Time crept along—hour after hour passed o'er,
While the death-angel still his touch forbore >
Lower and lower burned the flickering flame,
And slower yet the fitful pulses came.

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