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THE FIRE OF DRIFT-WOOD.

We sat within the farm-house old,

Whose windows, looking o'er the bay, Gave to the sea-breeze, damp and cold,

An easy entrance, night and day.

Not far away we saw the port, —

The strange, old-fashioned, silent town, — The light-house, — the dismantled fort, —

The wooden houses, quaint and brown.

We sat and talked until the night,

Descending, filled the little room; Our faces faded from the sight,

Our voices only broke the gloom.

We spake of many a vanished scene,

Of what we once had thought and said, Of what had been, and might have been,

And who was changed, and who was dead;

THE FIRE OF DRIFT-WOOD.

157

And all that fills the hearts of friends,

When first they feel, with secret pain, Their lives thenceforth have separate ends,

And never can be one again ;

The first slight swerving of the heart,

That words are powerless to express, And leave it still unsaid in part, . Or say it in too great excess.

The very tones in which we spake

Had something strange, I could but mark ; The leaves of memory seemed to make

A mournful rustling in the dark.

Oft died the words upon our lips,

As suddenly, from out the fire
Built of the wrecks of stranded ships,

The flames would leap and then expire.

And, as their splendor flashed and failed,

We thought of wrecks upon the main, Of ships dismasted, that were hailed

And sent no answer back again.

The windows, rattling in their frames,

The ocean, roaring up the beach,-
The gusty blast, — the bickering flames, –

All mingled vaguely in our speech;

Until they made themselves a part

Of fancies floating through the brain, The long-lost ventures of the heart,

That send no answers back again.

O flames that glowed ! O hearts that yearned!

They were indeed too much akin, The drift-wood fire without that burned, The thoughts that burned and glowed within.

H. W. LONGFELLOW.

THE EVENING TALK.

We sat by the fisher's cottage,

We looked on sea and sky,
We saw the mists of evening

Come riding and rolling by:

The lights in the light-house window

Brighter and brighter grew,
And on the dim horizon

A ship still hung in view.

THE EVENING TALK.

159

We spoke of storm and shipwreck,

Of the seaman's anxious life; How he floats 'twixt sky and water,

'Twixt joy and sorrow's strife :

We spoke of coasts far distant,

We spoke of south and north, Strange men, and stranger customs,

That those wild lands send forth :

Of the giant trees of Ganges,

Whose balm perfumes the breeze; And the fair and slender creatures,

That kneel by the lotus-trees.

The maidens listened earnestly,

At last the tales were ended ;
The ship was gone, the dusky night
Had on our talk descended.

From the German of HEINE.

THE TEAR.

The latest light of evening

Upon the waters shone,
And still we sat in the lonely hut,

In silence and alone.

The sea-fog grew, the screaming mew

Rose on the water's swell, And silently in her gentle eye

Gathered the tears and fell.

I saw them stand on the lily hand,

Upon my knee I sank,
And, kneeling there, from her fingers fair

The precious dew I drank.

And sense and power, since that sad hour,

In longing waste away;
Ah me! I fear, in each witching tear
Some subtle poison lay.

From the German of HEINE.

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