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MAIDEN! with the meek, brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies,
Like the dusk in evening skies !
Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Golden tresses, wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run !
Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!
Gazing, with a timid glance,
On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse !
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 ?
Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hearest thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar ?
0, thou child of many prayers !
ife hath quicksands,-Life hath snares! Care and age come unawares !
Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.
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.
0, that dew, like balm, shall steal Into wounds, that cannot heal, Even as sleep our eyes doth seal ;
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
His brow was sad ; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a faulchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
“ Try not the Pass ! ” the old man said ; “Dark lowers the tempest overhead, The roaring torrent is deep and wide !" And loud that clarion voice replied,
“O stay,” the maiden said, “and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast !”
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
“ Beware the pine-tree's withered branch !
Beware the awful avalanche !"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,
At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,
A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,