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TO MY MOTHER
(It is hardly necessary to say that too much tenderness cannot be imparted to the voice while reading these beautiful lines. The heart that rocals a departed mother's memory will be the best monitor.)
GIVE me my old seat, mother,
With my head upon thy knee:
Since thus I sat by thee.
Their meek, soft, loving light
Upon my heart, to-night.
I've not been long away, mother;
Few suns have risen and set,
My lips in kisses met.
But very long it seems;
Dear mother, in my dreams.
The world has kindly dealt, inother,
By the child thou lov'st so well;
And 'twas their holy spell
Which strewed the roses there;
On every breath of air.
I bear a happy heart, mother;
A happier never beat;
Are bursting at my feet.
But if such dreams are given,
What are the truths of Heaven !
I bear a happy heart, mother!
Yet, when fond eyes I see,
I ever think of thee.
Unbidden fill my eye;
Unto thy breast to fly.
Then I am very sad, mother,
I'm very sad and lone:
Opes to me like thine own!
While love-tones meet my ear ;
Were thousand times more dear.
Then with a closer clasp, mother,
Now hold me to thy heart:
Once more before we part.
When I am far away,
And for thy darling pray.
FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS.
(Like most of the poems of this master-spirit of lyrio art, this speci men is pervaded by a tone of sad sweetness, like the odor of flowers which blossom upon children's graves. It should be recited with a modulated cadence, and at times the voice should be slightly tremu-' lous.)
When the hours of day are numbered,
And the voices of the night
To a holy, calm delight;
And, like phantoms grim and tall,
Shadows from the fitful firelight
Dance upon the parlor wall;
Then the forms of the departed
Enter at the open door ;
Come to visit me once more.
He, the young and strong, who cherished
Noble longings for the strife, By the roadside fell and perished, Weary with the march of lite !
They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more!
And with them the being beauteous,
Who unto my youth was given, More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep,
Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me,
Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me,
With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saintlike,
Looking downward from the skies.
Uttered not, yet comprehended,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer, Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,
Breathing from her lips of air.
Oh, though oft depressed and lonely,
All my fears are laid aside, If I but remember only
Such as these have lived and died !
THE VULTURE OF THE ALPS
(The following stirring poem is highly dramatic. The reader should, as far as possible, realize the feelings of the shepherd-parent as he sees " the youngest of his babes” borne in the iron-claws of the vul. ture high in mid air towards his golgotha of a nest. Much force of attitude and gesture is not only admissable, but called for, as the agonized father leans forward following the flight of the vulture.]
I've been among the mighty Alps, and wandered through
their vales, And heard the honest mountaineers relate their dismal
tales, As round the cottage blazing hearth, when their daily
work was o'er, They spake of those who disappeared, and ne'er were
heard of more.
And there I from a shepherd heard a narrative of fear,
hear : The tears were standing in his eyes, his voice was tremu
lous. But, wiping all those tears away, he told his story thus :
“ It is among these barren cliffs the ravenous vulture dwells,
66 One cloudless Sabbath summer morn, the sun was rising
high, When, from my children on the green, I heard a fearful
cry, As if some awful deed were done, a shriek of grief and pain, A cry, I humbly trust in God, I ne'er may hear again.
“ I hurried out to learn the cause; but, overwhelmed with
The children never ceased to shriek, and from my frenzied
sight I missed the youngest of my babes, the darling of my care, But something caught my searching eyes, slow sailing
through the air.
"Oh! what an awful spectacle to meet a father's eye!
“My infant stretched his little hands imploringly to me, And struggled with the ravenous bird, all vainly to get
free, At intervals, I heard his cries, as loud he shrieked and
screamed : Until, upon the azure sky, a lessening spot he seemed."
6 The vulture flapped his sail-like wings, though heavily
he flew, A mote upon the sun's broad face he seemed unto my
view : But once I thought I saw him stoop, as if he would alight; 'T was only a delusive thought, for all had vanished quite.
“ All search was vain, and years had passed; that child was
; ne'er forgot, When once a daring hunter climbed unto a lofty spot, From whence, upon a rugged crag the chamois never
reached, He saw an infant's fleshless bones the elements had
“I clambered up that rugged cliff; I could not stay away; I knew they were my infant's bones thus hastening to de
cay; A tattered garment yet remained, though torn to many a
shred, The crimson cap he wore that morn was still upon the
That dreary spot is pointed out to travelers passing by, Who often stand, and, musing; gaze, nor go without a sigh. And as I journeyed, the next morn, along my sunny way, The precipice was shown to me, whereon the infant lay.