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THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen, He
reaps the bearded grain at a breath, And the flowers that grow between.
“Shall I have nought that is fair ? " saith he;
“Have nought but the bearded grain ? Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again."
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves ; It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.
“My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,”
The reaper said, and smiled ; “Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where he was once a child.
“ They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted, by my care,
These sacred blossoms wear."
And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love ;
In the fields of light above.
0, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day; 'Twas an angel visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away.
The night is come, but not too soon ;
And sinking silently,
Drops down behind the sky.
There is no light in earth or heaven,
But the cold light of stars ; And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.
Is it the tender star of love ?
The star of love and dreams? Ono ! from that blue tent above,
A hero's armour gleams.
And earnest thoughts within me rise,
When I behold afar, Suspended in the evening skies,
The shield of that red star.
O star of strength! I see thee stand
And smile upon my pain ; Thou beckonest with thy mailèd hand,
And I am strong again.
Within my breast there is no light,
But the cold light of stars ;
To the red planet Mars.
The star of the unconquered will,
He rises in my breast, Serene, and resolute, and still,
And calm, and self-possessed.
Aud thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,
That readest this brief psalm, As one by one thy hopes depart,
Be resolute and calm.
O fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know ere long, know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.
FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS.
When the hours of Day are numbered,
And the voices of the Night
To a holy, calm delight;
Ere the evening lamps are lighted,
And, like phantoms grim and tall, Shadows from the fitful fire-light
Dance upon the parlour wall;
Then the forms of the departed
Enter at the open door ; The beloved, the true-hearted,
Come to visit me once more ;
He, the young and strong, who cherished
Noble longings for the strife,
Weary with the march of life!
They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more !
And with them the Being Beauteous,
Who unto my youth was given, More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep
Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me,
Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me
With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saint-like,
Looking downward from the skies.
Uttered not, yet comprehended,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer, Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,
Breathing from her lips of air.
0, though oft depressed and lonely, All my
fears are laid aside, If I but remember only
Such as these have lived and died !