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THE MOTHER'S SACRIFICE.
What shall I render Thee, Father Supreme,
For thy rich gifts, and this the best of all ?”
Said a young mother, as she fondly watched
Her sleeping babe. There was an answering voice
That night in dreams :-

“ Thou hast a little bud
Wrapt in thy breast, and fed with dews of love :
Give me that bud. 'Twill be a flower in heaven.”1
But there was silence. Yea, a hush so deep,
Breathless, and terror-stricken, that the lip
Blanched in its trance.

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“ Thou hast a little harp-
How sweetly would it swell the angel's hymn:
Give me that harp.” There burst å shuddering sob,
As if the bosom by some hidden sword
Was cleft in twain.

Morn came.

A blight had struck
The crimson velvet of the unfolding bud;
The harp-strings rang a thrilling strain and broke-
And that young mother lay upon the earth,
In childless agony.

Again the voice
That stirred her vision :-“He who asked of thee
Loveth a cheerful giver.” So she raised
Her gushing eyes, and, ere the tear-drop dried
Upon its fringes, smiled—and that meek smile,
Like Abraham's faith, was counted righteousness.

Mrs. Sigourney

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(1) This beautiful metaphor is also found in Coleridge's “Epitaph on an Infant:"

“ Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade,

Death came with friendly care,
The opening bud to heaven conveyed,

And bade it blossom there."

SONG FOR THE WANDERING JEW.1

Though the torrents from their fountains
Roar down many a craggy steep;
Yet they find among the mountains
Resting-places calm and deep.
Clouds that love through air to hasten
Ere the storm its fury stills,
Helmet-like themselves will fasten
On the heads of towering hills.
What, if through the frozen centre
Of the Alps the chamois bound,
Yet he has a home to enter
In some nook of chosen ground.
And the sea-horse, though the ocean
Yield him no domestic cave,
Slumbers, without sense of motion,
Couched

upon the rocking wave.
If on windy days the raven
Gambol like a dancing skiff,
Not the less she loves her haven
In the bosom of the cliff.
The fleet ostrich till day closes
Vagrant over desert sands,
Brooding on her eggs reposes
When chill night that care demands.
Day and night my toils redouble,
Never nearer to the goal;
Night and day I feel the trouble
Of the Wanderer in my soul.

Wordsworth.

(1) The legend of the wandering Jew is of great, but unknown, antiquity. He was, the fable informs us, Pilate's porter, and when the soldiers were dragging the Saviour out of the judgment-hall, struck him on the back, saying, “Go faster, Jesus, go faster; why dost thou linger?” upon which Christ said to him, “I indeed am guing, but thou shalt tarry till I come.” He was soon after converted, but the doom rested upon him, and even so lately as 1228, an Armenian bishop, visiting England, professed with all sincerity to have dined recently with the man. See Percy's “Reliques of Ancient English Poetry,” vol. iii. p. 133.

OLD AGE.

The seas are quiet? when the winds give o'er;
So calm. are we when passions are no more.
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things so certain to be lost.
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries,
The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made.
Stronger by weakness, 4 wiser, men become,
As they draw near to their eternal home :
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new.

Waller.

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THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE.5

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Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where our hero we buried.

(1) Quiet, calm-That is quiet which is made so by circumstances, and is, therefore, superficially at rest; that is calm which is quiet by constitution-or which is altogether at rest. An angry man may be quiet externally, but certainly not calm.

(2) Affectioni.e. love for the "fleeting things” of the world.

(3) Soul's dark cottage-i.e. the body, called in Job iv. 19, “a house of clay,” and in 2 Cor v. I, “our earthly house of this tabernacle;" or, more correctly, " this earthly house, this tabernacle."

(4) Stronger by weakness—because the soul's strength increases as the body's decays. Milton, in his “Prose Works,” employs a very fine expression, something like this of Waller's, when he speaks of “the martyrs, with the unresistible might of weakness, shaking the powers of darkness.”

(5) This poem is doubtless one of the most affecting of its kind ever written. The conceptions, the language, the rhythm, all unite in forcibly impressing the reader with the reality of the scene, and making him not a spectator merely, but a sharer in the mournful ceremony. Sir John Moore died January 16th, 1809, at Corunna, of a wound which he received in the battle which took place there between the English under his command, and the French headed by Marshal Soult.

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We buried him darkly, at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light,
And the lantern dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him ;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face of the dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.3
We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed,
And smoothed down his lonely pillow,4
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him ;-
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done,
When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the distant and random gun
Of the enemy sullenly firing.

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(1) Lord Byron, who considered this poem one of the finest in our language, pronounced this stanza perfect, particularly the last two lines. The art with which the writer, under the semblance of a figure, displays the actual circumstances, is very striking. It reminds one of the Grecian artist's picture of a curtain, which was taken for the curtain itself.

(2) Face of the dead—Some copies read “ face that was dead,” which is discarded from the text, first, because we can scarcely with propriety speak of a dead face,” and secondly, if we could, the meaning is unnecessarily restricted by confining the triumph of death to a part only of the once active frame.

(3) The morrow - because the British troops were to embark the next morning.

(4) Narrow bed—the conception of the bed and pillow gracefully harmunises with that of the warrior “ taking his rest.”

(5) Sullenly firing—As if in spite, because they had been defeated. One of the readings of these two lines is :

“And we heard by the distant and random gun

That the foe was suddenly firing." That is, we heard by the firing that the enemy was suddenly firing, which is either a redundant expression, or else implies that the report of the guns notified a sudden, that is, a new attack, which, however, is inconsistent with the facts.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone-
But we left him alone with his glory!

Wolfe.

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THE HAUNTED HOUSE."

A ROMANCE.

Some dreams we have are nothing else but dreams,
Unnatural, and full of contradictions ;
Yet others of our most romantic schemes

Are something more than fictions.
It might be only on enchanted ground;
It might be merely by a thought's expansion;
But, in the spirit or the flesh, I found

An old deserted mansion;
A residence for woman, child, and man,
A dwelling-place--and yet no habitation;
A house—but under some prodigious ban

Of excommunication.
Unhinged, the iron gates half open hung,
Jarred by the gusty gales of many winters,
That from its crumbled pedestal had flung

One marble globe in splinters.
No dog was at the threshold, great or small;
No pigeon on the roof-no household creature-
No cat demurely dozing on the wall--

Not one domestic feature.
No human figure stirr’d, to go or come,
No face looked forth from shut or open casement;
No chimney smoked—there was no sign of home

From parapet to basement.

(1) The extract here given is a portion only of a poem of Hood's with the above title, but it gives a good idea of the author's skill in the choice of details, which, by accumulation, make up a striking picture. The aptness, too, of the epithets, which give tone and colour to the picture, and the musical flow of the verse, evince a high degree of artistical ingenuity.

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