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Sewing at once, with a double thread,

A shroud as well as a shirt.

“But why do I talk of Death ?

That phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,

It seems so like my own
It seems so like my own,

Because of the fasts I keep;
Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,

And flesh and blood so cheap! 66 Work — work — work!

My labor never flags;
And what are its wages ? A bed of straw,

A crust of bread — and rags.
That shatter'd roof- and this naked floor -

A table - a broken chair -
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank

For sometimes falling there!

“Work — work — work! . From weary chime to chime,

Work — work — work-
As prisoners work for crime !

Band, and gusset, and seam,

Seam, and gusset, and band, Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumb’d,

As well as the weary hand.

“Work — work — work,
In the dull December light,

And work — work — work,
When the weather is warm and bright -
While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs

And twit me with the spring.
"Oh! but to breathe the breath
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet -

With the sky above my head, And the grass beneath my feet, For only one short hour

To feel as I used to feel, Before I knew the woes of want

And the walk that costs a meal! “Oh! but for one short hour!

A respite however brief!
No blessed leisure for Love or Hope,

But only time for Grief !
A little weeping would ease my heart,

But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop

Hinders needle and thread !
With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread —

Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,
Would that its tone could reach the Rich!

She sang this “Song of the Shirt !"


Vital spark of heavenly flame,
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame;
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying -
Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying !
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.
Hark! they whisper; angels say,
Sister spirit, come away!
What is this absorbs me quite ?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirit, draws my breath ?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death ?
The world recedes; it disappears !
Heaven opens on my eyes ! my ears

With sounds seraphic ring :
Lend, lend your wings ! I mount ! I ly!
O grave ! where is thy victory?

O death! where is thy sting ?


Mrs. Browning.
Help me, God — help me, man! I am low, I am weak —
Death loosens my sinews and creeps in my veins ;
My body is cleft by these wedges of pains,

From my spirit's serene ;
And I feel the externe and insensate creep in

On my organized clay.
I sob not, nor shriek,

Yet I faint fast away!
I am strong in the spirit, — deep-thoughted, clear-eyed,-
I could walk, step for step, with an angel beside,

On the Heaven-heights of Truth!

Oh! the soul keeps its youth-
But the body faints sore, it is tired in the race,
It sinks from the chariot ere reaching the goal;

It is weak, it is cold,

The rein drops from its hold -
It sinks back with the death in its face!

On, chariot, -on, soul, -
Ye are all the more fleet-
Be alone at the goal .

Of the strange and the sweet !
Love us, God! — love us, man! We believe, we achievo-

Let us love, let us live,
For the acts correspond -

We are glorious — and DIE !
And again on the knee of a mild Mystery

That smiles with a change,

Here we lie!

Thou art sweet, thou art strange!


Ibid. “I will invite thee, from thy envious herse

To rise, and 'bout the world thy beams to spread,
That we may see there's brightness in the dead.Hab ngton,
It is a place where poets crowned

May feel the heart's decaying –
It is a place where happy saints

May weep amid their praying

Yet let the grief and humbleness,

As low as silence, languish;
Earth surely now may give her calm

To whom she gave her anguish.

O poets! from a maniac's tongue

Was poured the deathless singing!
O Christians! at your cross of hope

A hopeless hand was clinging!
O men! this man, in brotherhood,

Your weary paths beguiling,
Groaned inly while he taught you peace,

And died while ye were smiling!

And now, what time ye all may read

Through dimming tears his story How discord on the music fell,

And darkness on the glory — And how, when one by one, sweet sounds

And wandering lights departed, He wore no less a loving face,

Because so broken-hearted —

He shall be strong to sanctify

The poet's high vocation,
And bow the meekest Christian down

In meeker adoration :
Nor ever shall he be in praise,

By wise or good forsaken;
Named softly, as the household name

Of one whom God hath taken!

With sadness that is calm, not gloom,

I learn to think upon him ;
With meekness that is gratefulness,

On God whose Heaven hath won him Who suffered once the madness-cloud,

Toward His love to blind him; But gently led the blind along

Where breath and bird could find him;

And wrought within his shattered brain,

Such quick poetic senses,
As hills have language for, and stars,

Harmonious influences !

The pulse of dew upon the grass,

His own did calmly number; And silent shadows from the trees

Fell o'er him like a slumber.

The very world by God's constraint,

From falsehood's chill removing, Its women and its men became

Beside him, true and loving! And timid hares were drawn from woods

To share his home-caresses,
Uplooking to his human eyes

With sylvan tendernesses.
But while, in blindness he remained

Unconscious of the guiding,
And things provided came without

The sweet sense of providing,
He testified this solemn truth,

Though frenzy-desolated -
Nor man, nor nature satisfy,

Whom only God created !
Like a sick child that knoweth not

His mother while she blesses,
And drops upon his burning brow

The coolness of her kisses;
That turns his fevered eyes around -

“My mother! where's my mother?!. As if such tender words and looks

Could come from any other!
The fever gone, with leaps of heart

He sees her bending o'er him;
Her face all pale from watchful love,

Th’ unweary love she bore him!
Thus woke the poet from the dream

His life's long fever gave him, Beneath those deep pathetic eyes,

Which closed in death, to save him.

Thus! oh, not thus ! no type of earth

Could image that awaking,
Wherein he scarcely heard the chant

Of seraphs, round him breaking

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