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I saw thee first, when hope arose
On youth's triumphant wing,
Of early dawning spring.
Would e'er desert the brow,
So chill and changeless now?
That brow! how proudly o'er it then,
Thy kingly beauty hung,
Came burning from the tongue;
The kindling smile was spread, Or tears, to thine own woes denied,
For others' griefs were shed.
Thy mind! it ever was the home
Of high and holy thought;
Thy pure example taught;
As from a royal throne,
In mingled radiance shone.
One evening, when the autumn dew
Upon the hills was shed,
His starry host had led,
To that prophetic eye,
And early death were nigh.
It was a voice from other worlds,
Which none beside might hear;-
Breathed faintly on the ear;
When blessed spirits come,
To call a sister home.
How sadly on my spirit then,
That fatal warning fell !
Another voice may tell ;
The slowly moving bier, —
The unavailing tear!
The amaranth flowers that bloom in heaven,
Entwine thy temples now;
Is beaming on thy brow;
Have borne thee to thy rest,
Companion of the blest.
The sun hath set in folded clouds, –
Its twilight rays are gone;
The storm is rolling on.
The fainting spirit braves,
Are gone to early graves !
THE OLD ELM OF NEWBURY.
H. F. Gould.
[This piece forms an example of lively style requiring spirited utter
ance, free, flowing expression,” brisk “movement," and all the other natural characteristics of animated and gay conversation. In the reading of such pieces, it is important to guard the style of enunciation against colloquial negligence.]
Did ever it come in your way to pass
You saw how its roots had grasped the ground, As if it had felt the earth went round, And fastened them down, with determined will To keep it steady, and hold it still. — Its aged trunk, so stately and strong, Has braved the blasts as they've rushed along, Its head has towered, and its arms have spread, While more than a hundred years have fled !
Well, that old elm, that is now so grand,
'Twas the peaceful close of a summer's day; Its glorious orb had passed away; The toil of the field, till the morn, had ceased, For a season of rest to man and beast. The mother had silenced her humming wheel, The father returned, for the evening meal, The thanks of one who had chosen the part Of the poor in spirit, the rich in heart, — The good old man in his chair reclined, At an humble door, with a peaceful mind, While the drops from his sunburnt brow were dried By the cool, sweet air of the eventide.
The son from the yoke had unlocked the bow, Dismissing the faithful ox to go And graze in the close. He had called the kine For their oblation at day's decline. He'd gathered and numbered the lambs and shecp, And fastened them up in their nightly keep. He'd stood by the coop till the hen could bring Her huddling brood safe under her wing; And made them secure from the hooting owl, Whose midnight prey was the shrieking fowl. When all was finished, he sped to the well Where the old gray bucket hastily fell,
And the clear cold water came up to chase
It is not recorded how long he staid In the cheerful home of the smiling maid; But when he came out, it was late and dark, And silent, — not even a dog would bark, To take from his feeling of loneliness, And make the length of his way seem less : lle thought it was strange, that the treacherous moon Should have given the world the slip so soon; And, whether the eyes of the girl had made The stars of the sky in his own to fade, Or not, it certainly seemed to him, That each grew distant, and small, and dim; And he shuddered to think he now was about To take a long and a lonely route; For he did not know what fearful sight Might come to him through the shadows of night!
An Elm grew close by the cottage eaves; So he plucked him a twig well clothed with leaves, And sallying forth with the supple arm, — To serve as a talisman parrying harm,Ile felt that, though his heart was so big, 'T'was even the stouter for having the twig For this, he thought, would answer to switch The horrors away, as he crossed the ditch, The meadow and copse, wherein, perchance, Will-o'-the-wisp might wickedly dance; And wielding it, keep him from feeling a chill At the menacing sound of “ Whip-poor-will!” And his flesh from creeping, beside the bog, At the harsh, bass voice of the viewless frog:In short, he felt that the switch would be. Guard, plaything, business, and company!
When he got safe home, and joyfully found
The twig took root; and as time flew by,
But many and many a year has fled
THE FARMER. Anonymous. [An example of animated conversational style, requiring attention,
principally, to easy, lively, and fluent utterance.] Of all the conditions of men, — and I have mingled with every variety, - I believe that none is so independent as that of an industrious, frugal, and sober farmer.' None affords more the means of contentment and substantial enjoyment; none, — where early education has not been neglected, presents better opportunities for moral and intellectual improvement; none calls more loudly for religious gratitude; none is suited to give a more lively and deeper impression of the goodness of God.