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roll on. We cannot, it is true, penetrate to the heart, but in our sympathy we would be with them, intreating them not to stand still, lest they should fall back. No stage or step in life can form a halting place. Life must be one perpetual move; no sooner is the foot planted on one vantage ground, than a look must be cast upon the next—and so it must go on to the end. God speed the eager, and strengthen the failing feet, till the summit is gained and the weary may rest !
THE NEW AND OLD YEAR.
Old Year, with all the sorrow
Thou broughtest in thy train,
On earth can come again ;
Therefore I grieve to part from thee,
And all the vanished past,
Of days that fied so fast.
The love that dwelt around my path,
E'en from my childhood's hour,
In manhood's strength and power.
New Year, thou canst not give me back
The gladness of the old :
They now are dumb and cold ;
The eyes that fondly beamed on me
Are sleeping in the grave;
I vainly long and crave.
New Year, with weak and trembling gaze
I stand upon thy brink ;
My heart and spirit sink.
New Year, one only comfort comes
To cheer me at thy dawn;
In hopeless grief can mourn.
In every dark and untried path
His Presence goes before ;
He guideth to the shore.
New Year, I fain would greet thee;
Would I go forth to meet thee.
But why should I repine ?
Eternal and divine.
S. H. P.
THE DREAM OF THE YEAR.
Tell me the dream of the infant year,
As he lay in the arms of his rugged nurse ; Or was it too secret for mortal ear,
For mortal tongue to rehearse ?
I know that her song was sad and wild,
As she cradled him on her icy breast;
That will not be laid to rest.
Spring led the boy to her fairest bowers,
Where all was lovely, fresh, and gay ;
And bade them together play.
He knew not, he cared not, the heedless child,
That all was fleeting, though so sweet; In the height of his pleasure the birds flew wild,
The flowers died at his feet.
He looked for the tracks of his morning guide,
The shining showers, the silver dew ; Summer, still Summer, was by his side,
With a flush in her eyes of blue.
With words that he could not understand,
She led him captive for many a mile, He felt the touch of her burning hand,
And drank the strength of her smile.
He bowed his head to the thunder shower,
He climbed the mountain so steep and stern, He looked in her face from hour to hour,
And learned what he had to learn.
He pleaded hard for an hour of rest
Life was dreary and far to roam;
And whispered of love and home.
And laid him down at close of day; Sweet Summer kissed him as he slept, And went upon
way. Then Autumn shook, among the leaves,
Her breezy song of stars and streams; He heard her walking through the sheaves,
And loved her in his dreams.
He thought together they wandered far,
Through corn-fields ripe for him that reaps, To find the home of the evening star,
And the cave where the west wind sleeps.
But the cold dew frosted her shining hair,
And clouds came over the starry night; She floated by like a spirit of air,
And vanished out of his sight.
And an icy hand was on his brow,
And he heard that old sad song again,Child of the snow-drift, I come to thee now, In the hour of grief and pain.'
And she wrapped her rugged arms once more
Around his weary wasted form,
Was the wild sad song of the storm.
And the snow came up from the northern clime,
With soft white vesture and noiseless tread,
Because the old year was dead.
MEDIEVAL SEQUENCES AND HYMNS.
No. XIII.-FOR THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL.
(Tuba Domini Paule maxima)
MIGHTIEST trump of our militant Lord,
Thou of the Gentiles' Apostles the first,
At morn a Benjamin, ravenous of mood,
Once the untameable unicorn thou,
He the unjust steward well doth requite,
Laud to the Three everlastingly One,
A SEQUENCE OF PETER ABAELARD.
* Gen. xlix. 27.
† Job, xxxix. 10.
THE DIVINA COMMEDIA OF DANTE.
We propose to bring before our readers a series of translations from Dante's great poem, selected in such a way as to preserve the unity of its conception, while omitting those portions of the narrative which may be thought to have less weighty claims than the rest upon the special attention of English readers. In general, Dante may be trusted to tell his own story with sufficient clearness, though now and then we find allusions to the history or beliefs of his time, “which demand a few words of explanation. In addition to this, however, the imagery of the vision will frequently be found susceptible of various allegorical interpretations, which have exercised the ingenuity of numberless commentators; these will be briefly noticed as they occur. The same must be said of the astronomy of Dante, which is for the most part extremely involved and difficult, though this perhaps is due rather to the obscurity of his language than to the abstruseness of his ideas.
The night in which Dante conceives himself as lost in the wood, is that preceding March 25, the Good Friday of the year 1300. He was then in his 35th year, in the mid pathway' of man’s allotted time. The Sun (who is the 'planet' of the 17th verse) was then of course in Aries, the first of the signs of the Zodiac, in which Dante imagines him to have been placed on the fourth day of creation. The dark wood, the glowing mountain, the three beasts,-the leopard, the lion, and the wolf,-all have their interpretations, both allegorical and political. Dante, the type of human nature, while in a state of misery and alienation from God, out of which his own vices prevent his extricating himself, is led by Virgil, the representative of natural science, to acknowledge the claims of morality and virtue; and by Beatrice, the representative of revealed theology, to adore the mysteries of Christianity exhibited to his view in Paradise. The political interpretations naturally have far less interest for readers of our own time and country, and since Italian commentators themselves are not agreed as to the personages represented by the wolf and the greyhound, we may be excused from giving our readers any lengthened exposition of their views. It may suffice to say that the Ghibellines, and Dante among them, had been expelled from Florence in the year 1300, and that the poet anticipates the restoration of his party and the expulsion of the Guelfs, either by the Emperor or by some Ghibelline captain of the time. It should be remarked that (since Virgil is excluded from Paradise) St. Peter's gate, at the end of the canto, must refer to the gate of Purgatory: though that is afterwards described as kept by an angel, while St. Peter is conceived as holding the keys of Paradise, according to our Lord's saying.