Page images


1. This book is all that's left me now!

Tears will unbidden start,-
With faltering lip and throbbing brow,

I press it to my heart.
For many generations past,

Here is our family tree :
My mother's hand this Bible clasped ;

She, dying, gave it me.

2. Ah! well do I remember those

Whose names those records bear,
Who round the hearthstone used to close

After the evening prayer,
And speak of what these pages said,

In tones my heart would thrill!
Though they are with the silent dead,

Here are they living still !

3. My father read this holy book

To brothers, sisters, dear ;
How calm was my poor mother's look,

Who learned God's word to hear
Her angel-face-I see it yet!

What thronging memories come!
Again that little group is met

Within the halls of home!

4. Thou truest friend man ever knew,

Thy constancy I've tried ;
Where all were false I found thee true,

My counselor and guide.
The mines of earth no treasure give

That could this volume buy :
In teaching me the way to live,

It taught me how to die.

QUESTIONS.—What is the character of this piece? What emotion does it chiefly express ? Does it require to be read in loud tones ? Does it require rapid speaking ? Should the words be spoken sharply or gently?



1. The turf shall be my fragrant shrine ;

My temple, Lord ! that arch of thine ;
My censer's breath the mountain airs,
And silent thoughts my only prayers.

2. My choir shall be the moonlit waves,

When murmuring homeward to their caves,
Or when the stillness of the sea,
E'en more than music, breathes of Thee.

3. I'll seek, by day, some glade unknown,

All light and silence, like thy Throne !
And the pale stars shall be, at night,
The only eyes that watch my rite.

4. Thy heaven, on which 'tis bliss to look,

Shall be my pure and shining book,
Where I shall read, in words of flame,
The glories of thy wondrous name:

5. I'll read thy anger in the rack

That clouds awhile the day-beam's track ;
Thy mercy in the azure hue
Of sunny brightness, breaking through!

6. There's nothing bright, above, below,

From flowers that bloom to stars that glow,
But in its light my soul can see
Some feature of thy Deity.

7. There's nothing dark, below, above,

But in its gloom I trace thy Love,
And meekly wait that moment, when

Thy touch shall turn all bright again ! This selection, like the preceding, requires smooth, gentle tones, with median stress. It has, however, less of tenderness, and requires more fullness and roundness of voice. The preceding selection is the more pathetic, this is the more dignified and noble. The pitch should be lower in this than in the preceding


1. Day-stars that ope your eyes with morn, to twinkle

From rainbow galaxies of earth's creation,
And dew-drops on her lowly altars sprinkle

As a libation !

2. Ye matin worshipers, who bending lowly

Before the uprisen sun, God's lidless eye,
Throw from your chalices a pure and holy

Incense on high !

3. Ye bright mosaics, that with storied beauty

The floor of nature's temple tesselate,
What numerous emblems of instructive duty

Your forms create !

4. In the sweet-scented pictures, heavenly Artist,

With which thou paintest nature's wide-spread hall,
What a delightful lesson thou impartest

Of love to all !

5. Not useless are ye, flowers, though made for pleasure,

Blooming in field and wood by day and night;
From every source your presence bids me treasure

Harmless delight.

6. “Thou wert not, Solomon, in all thy glory,

Arrayed,” the lilies cry,“ in robes like ours;
How vain your grandeur ! ah, how transitory

Are human powers !”

7. 'Neath cloistered boughs each floral bell that swingeth

And tolls its perfume on the passing air,
Makes Sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth

A call to prayer ;

8. Not to the dome where crumbling arch and column

Attest the feebleness of mortal hand,
But to that fane, most catholic and solemn,

Which God hath planned ;

9. To the cathedral, boundless as our wonder,

Whose quenchless lamps the sun and moon supply, Its choir the winds and waves, its organ thunder,

Its dome the sky.

10. There, as in solitude and shade I wander

Through the green aisles, or, stretched along the sod, Awed by the silence, reverently ponder

The ways of God:

11. Your voiceless lips, O flowers, are living preachers,

Each cup a pulpit, every leaf a book,
Supplying to my fancy numerous teachers

From loneliest nook.

12. Ephemeral sages ! What instructors hoary

For such a world of thought could furnish scope ?
Each fading calyx a memento mori,

Yet fount of hope.

13. Posthumous glories, angel-like collection,

Upraised from seed or bulb interred in earth,
Ye are to me a type of resurrection

And second birth.

14. Floral apostles, that in dewy splendor

Weep without woe and blush without a crime,
O, let me deeply learn and ne'er surrender

Your love sublime.

15. Were I, O God ! in churchless lands remaining,

Far from all voice of teachers or divines,
My soul would find in flowers of thy ordaining

Priests, sermons, shrines.

QUESTIONS.—1. What is “a libation"? What are said to be “sprinkled,” and by what? 2. What are “matin worshipers "? What are the “chalices” here mentioned ? 3. Why are the flowers called “bright mosaics"? 7. What is the meaning of "ever" in the third line? 8. What are alluded to in the first two lines? In the last two? 9. What is meant by the expression “ boundless as our wonder" ? What is said to be boundless ? Point out the passages that seem to you most beautiful.



1. Homes there are, we are sure, that are no homes; the home of the very poor man, and another which we shall speak to presently. Crowded places of cheap entertainment, and the benches of ale-houses, if they could speak, might bear mournful testimony to the first. To them the very poor man resorts for an image of the home which he can not find at home. For a starved grate, and a scanty firing, that is not enough to keep alive the natural heat in the fingers of so many shivering children with their mother, he finds in the depths of winter always a blazing hearth, and a hob to warm his pittance of beer by. Instead of the clamors of a wife, made gaunt by famishing, he meets with a cheerful attendance beyond the merits of the trifle which he can afford to spend.

2. He has companions which his home denies him ; for

« PreviousContinue »