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Elizabeth Akces Allew

DROUGHT.

The sun uprises, large and red,
The dawn is lost in a sultry glow;
Like a furnace-roof is the heaven o'erhead,
Like tinder the thirsty earth below;
Hushed is the grateful voice of streams,

The famished fountains and brooks are dry;
And day by day do the burning beams
Pour from the pitiless sky.

All things languish and fade and pine;
Buds are withered before they bloom;
The blighted leaves of the window-vine
Chase each other about the room;
Vapors gather, they melt in light;

Rain-clouds promise, then burn away;
And all hearts faint as the sultry night
Follows the sultry day.

Sadly adown the orchard lines

The apples shrivel and shrink and fall;
The scanty clusters among the vines
Wilt, half-ripe, on the scorching wall;

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The peaches perish before their prime,
The trim espaliers are bare and lorn;
Dry and dead, as in winter-time,

Stand the ranks of the curling corn.

No longer the cool and gurgling songs
Of warblers freshen the lifeless air;
The simmering noise of the insect throngs
Sounds incessantly everywhere;

The ringing rasp of the locust comes

Piercing the sense like a wedge of sound; The wasp from his nest in the gable hums, And the cricket shrills from the ground.

The hard dry grasshopper, snugly hid,
Grates his sharpest, and thinks he sings;
The castanets of the katydid

Chime with the rattle of sharded wings;
Blundering, booming, the beetles pass,
While bats flit silent, as daylight dies;
And loud in the tangles of seedy grass
The peevish cat-bird cries.

Open-billed, with his wings a-droop,

The wren sits silent, and seeks no more
The half-built nest in the sunny stoop,

Or the children's crumbs by the open door;
Rustling with dead and brittle stalks

The paths of the garden are thick with dust; And the rows of flower-beds down the walks Are baked to an ashy crust.

Parched to blackness the roses die,

Robbed of sweetness and form and hue;

Vainly the languid butterfly

Seeks, as of old, their garnered dew;
Vain the humming-bird's sweet pursuit ;
The honey-bee's quest is sparely crowned;
Happy the mole that gnaws a root

In his cool nest underground!

The fading foliage of waiting woods,

The fields all barren and bare and brown,
The city's suffering multitudes,

The parching roofs of the thirsty town,
The herds which snuff at the yellow grass,
The leaves which open their palms in vain,
The sea that mirrors a sky like brass-
All these do pray for rain.

THE VOICES OF SPRING.

SESTINA.

"When sparrows build, and leaves break forth, The old sorrow wakes and cries."

Why is it that the voices of the spring,

The blue-bird's note, the red-breast's mellow call, The sweet, sweet carols which the sparrows sing, The peeping of the frogs at evening's fall,These vague regrets and home-sick longings bring To hearts which listen for and love them all?

All souls rejoice when winter goes; and all
Are glad to welcome back the tardy spring,-

To hear the woods responding to the call

Which, rough and blustering, the March winds sing,To mark the shower's blossom-waking fall,

And the slight changes which the slow days bring.

And yet, the first soft days are sure to bring

A tender sadness, with their joy, to all;
For with the new growth, buried memories spring,
As once of old, at dread enchantment's call,
The dead arose and spake; how can we sing,

Or smile, when tears well up, and fain would fall?

Even the lark's voice has a mournful fall;

His lovely golden breast, that seems to bring The sunshine with it, and the warmth, and all That makes and glorifies the gracious spring,

Is burdened with that long, despairing call

For one he seeks in vain-how can he sing?

We think of strains which hope was wont to sing
In youth's sweet Eden-land,-before the fall
Did to our souls time's bitter wisdom bring,
And hush the angel-voices one and all;
Yet we remember them, and every spring
Catch faint and far the echo of their call.

Never does summer-time or autumn call

The same soft sadness back; the birds may sing, Flowers fade, and ripe October's foliage fall,

Yet not the same strange melancholy bring.

It is the saddest season of them all,—

The weeping, haunted, unforgetful spring!

Ah, lovely spring! though mating blue-birds call,
And red-breasts sing, and sparrows' song-showers fall,
Thy soft hours bring the same sweet pain to all!

AMONG THE LAURELS.

The sunset's gorgeous dyes

Paled slowly from the skies,

And the clear heaven was waiting for the stars,
As side by side we strayed
Along a sylvan glade,

And found our pathway crossed by rustic bars.

Beyond the barrier lay

A green and tempting way,

Arched with fair laurel trees, abloom and tall,
Their cups of tender snow
Edged with a rosy glow,

And warm, sweet shadows trembling over all.

The chestnuts sung and sighed,

The solemn oaks replied,

And distant pine-trees crooned in cradling tones;
While music low and clear

Gushed from the darkness near,

Where a shy brook went tinkling over stones.

Soft mosses, damp and sweet,

Allured our waiting feet,

And brambles veiled their thorns with treacherous bloom; While tiny flecks of flowers,

Which owned no name of ours,

Added their mite of beauty and perfume.

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