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FAMILIAR LOVE. Milnes.

We read together, reading the same book,
Our heads bent forward in a half embrace,
So that each shade that either spirit took
Was straight reflected in the other's face;
We read, not silent, nor aloud, but each
Followed the eye that passed the page along,
With a low murmuring sound, that was not speech,

Yet with so much monotony
In its half slumbering harmony,
You might not call it song;

More like a bee, that in the noon rejoices,
Than any customed mood of human voices.
Then if some wayward or disputed sense
Made cease a while that music, and brought on
A strife of gracious-worded difference,
Too light to hurt our souls' dear unison,
We had experience of a blissful state,
In which our powers of thought stood separate,
Each, in its own high freedom, set a part,
But both close folded in one loving heart;
So that we seemed, without conceit, to be
Both one and two in our identity.

DEATH'S FINAL CONQUEST. - Shirley.

The glories of our birth and state

Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armor against fate;

Death lays his icy hand on kings.

222

THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS.

Sceptre and crown

Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor, crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,

And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:

Early or late

They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath,
When they pale captives creep to Death.

The garlands wither on your brow;

Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor victim bleeds;

All hands must come

To the cold tomb,
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.

THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS. - Bloom field.

COME, friend, I'll turn thee up again;
Companion of the lonely hour!
Spring thirty times hath fed with rain
And clothed with leaves my humble bower,

Since thou hast stood,

In frame of wood,
On chest or window by my side;
At every birth still thou wert near,
Still spoke thine admonitions clear, -

And when my husband died.

I've often watched thy streaming sand,
And seen the growing mountain rise,
And often found life's hopes to stand
On props as weak in Wisdom's eyes;

Its conic crown

Still sliding down, Again heaped up, then down again; The sand above more hollow grew, Like days and years still filtering through,

And mingling joy and pain.

While thus I spin and sometimes sing,
(For now and then my heart will glow,)
Thou measur'st Time's expanding wing;
By thee the noontide hour I know;

Though silent thou,

Still shalt thou flow,
And jog along thy destined way;
But when I glean the sultry fields,
When earth her yellow harvest yields,

Thou gett'st a holiday.

Steady as truth, on either end
Thy daily task performing well,
Thou 'rt Meditation's constant friend,
And strik'st the heart without a bell :

Come, lovely May !

Thy lengthened day Shall gild once more my native plain; Curl inward here, sweet woodbine-flower; Companion of the lonely hour,

I'll turn thee up again.

224

TIIE MEN OF OLD.

HYMN TO DIANA. – Jonson, born in 1574.

QUEENE, and huntresse, chaste, and faire,
Now the sun is laid to sleepe,
Seated, in thy silver chaire,
State in wonted manner keepe :
Hesperus intreats thy light,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy impious shade
Dare itself to interpose :
Cynthia's shining orbe was made
Heaven to cheere, when day did close;
Bless us, then, with wished sight,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

Lay thy bow of pearle apart,
And thy cristall-shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short soever:
Thou that mak'st a day of night,
Goddesse, excellently bright.

THE MEN OF OLD. — Milnes.
I KNOW not that the men of old
Were better than men now,
Of heart more kind, of hand more bold,
Of more ingenuous brow;
I heed not those who pine perforce
A ghost of Time to raise,
As if they could check the course
Of these appointed days.

Still it is true, and over true,
That I delight to close
This book of life, self-wise and new,
And let my thoughts repose
On all that humble happiness
The world has since foregone, -
The daylight of contentedness
That on those faces shone !

With rights, though not too closely scanned,
Enjoyed as far as known, —
With will by no reverse unmanned,
With pulse of even tone, —
They from to-day and from to-night
Expected nothing more
Than yesterday and yesternight
Had proffered them before.

To them was life a simple art
Of duties to be done,
A game where each man took his part,
A race where all must run;
A battle whose great scheme and scope
They little cared to know,
Content, as men-at-arms, to cope
Each with his fronting foe.

Man now his virtue's diadem
Puts on and proudly wears;
Great thoughts, great feelings, came to them,
Like instincts, unawares :
Blending their souls' sublimest needs
With tasks of every day,
They went about their gravest deeds
As noble boys at play.

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