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Deep and still that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision,
Beckon thee to fields Elysian P
Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hear'st thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar?
O thou child of many prayers'
Life hath quicksands—life hath snares;
Care and age come unawares 1
Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June 1
Childhood is the bough where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many-numbered ;-
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather then each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.
Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear, through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.
O that dew like balm shall steal
Into wounds that cannot heal,
E’en as sleep our eyes doth seal:
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW,
She was a Phantom of Delight.
HE was a phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament.
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair;
Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn—
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too !
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A creature, not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food—
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveler between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill.
A perfect woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a spirit still, and bright
With something of an angel light.
HE dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A maid whom there were none to praise,
And very few to love.
A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye l—
Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, O !.
The difference to me !
Three years she grew in sun and shower;
Then Nature said, “A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown;
This child I to myself will take ;
She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own.
“Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse; and with me
The girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power,
To kindle or restrain.
“She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs;
And hers shall be the breathing balm,
And hers the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things,
“The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend:
Nor shall she fail to see,
Even in the motions of the storm,
Grace that shall mould the maiden's form
By silent sympathy.
“The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place,
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.
“And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give,
While she and I together live
Here in this happy dell.”
Thus Nature spake.—The work was done—
How soon my Lucy's race was run
She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm and quiet scene;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.
HE lady she sits at her window;
I sit at my window and look,
And my fancies flock gladly toward her,
As young swans flock forth to a brook,
And I catch from her bright face the pleasure
I draw from an affluent book.
I scarce know the name of the lady,
She never has spoken to me;
But I know, by infallible symbols,
That whatever her history be,
Her soul is as brave as the mountains—
Her heart is as deep as the sea.
Sometimes her white fingers fly deftly
All day with the needle and thread;
And sometimes o'er lark-throated poems
She droopeth her beautiful head,
And sometimes she waits on the people
Whose custom assureth her bread.
For she is but a clerk, is this lady;
A salaried clerk in a store,
With the blessing of labor upon her:
(Not curse, as was written of yore.)
And—judged by the palpable outward—
I should hazard the guess she was poor.
But of comforts, and riches, and splendors,
Which silver and gold cannot buy;
The things which make royal the forehead,
Which set a delight in the eye,
And crown us with glories and lusters
As the stars of the Lord crown the sky—