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MISS MARGIE P. SWAIN.

THIS

HIS gifted young writer is a native of Taliaferro County, in the State of Georgia; but in early life she became a resident of Alabama. Her home is with her adopted parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Swain, of Talladega County.

The great civil war, at its inception in 1861, found Miss Swain, then scarcely entered on her teens, a pupil of White Chapel Female Seminary, near Talladega. In common with almost all of her sex, from the youngest to the oldest, resident in the States where slavery existed, she became an ardent Southerner in her feeling. As the contest proceeded to more and more sanguinary horrors and gigantic proportions, her interest deepened accordingly, and the stirrings of genius within her broke forth in poetical expression. At a period of life when most young girls are busying themselves with lessons in geography or algebra, her daring mind actually planned and executed "Lochlin," a regular "romaunt of the war," in iambic verse, unaided by other hands, and urged forward solely by the inspiration of her own genius. It was completed, and put through the press at Selma, Alabama, at an age younger than that at which a vast majority of the poets have made their way into the publication vestibule of the temple of fame. The first edition of this poem abounded with typographical and other errors, resulting in great part from the manifold difficulties experienced by publishers as results of the war. In this first edition, the poem was entitled "Mara," for which the young authoress has substituted "Lochlin " in a new edition soon to appear.

Since the publication referred to in 1864, Miss Swain has spent a portion of her time at school; has mastered an extensive course of literary and historical reading, and has written many other poems, soon likewise to be given by her publishers to the world. The most considerable of these is "Constantius," an historical drama of the times of the immediate successors of Constantine the Great. We venture the prediction that Miss Swain's "Constantius" will prove a decided triumph in the difficult art of dramatic composition, and a faithful portraiture of Roman life in the fourth century. Her minor poems,

sufficient of themselves to form a respectable volume in point of size, display great versatility of powers, range of information, rhythmical aptitude, and rare poetic beauty.

And yet all these works of her genius have been produced while she has so constantly been seen in the school-room, or the gay circle of thoughtless companions, that it is wonder to those who know her best how or when they were written. This fact is of itself a high commentary on the force of her genius, and creates higher hopes for her future great and lasting eminence in literature. A manifest improvement in her later productions is visible; and as she has before her all of that period of life when the full maturity of her intellectual powers may ́ ́be expected to be realized, other works, surpassing those already produced, may be confidently expected.

In person, Miss Swain is about the medium height, of fair complexion, handsome spirited features, and hazel eyes, that, when interested in conversation, glow with singular brilliancy. In conversation, she seldom attempts to display those powers which she seeks to wield through her pen; but when occasionally interested by a congenial companion, her conversation is peculiarly instructive and fascinating. If she can happily steer clear of the maelstrom of matrimony, and life and health be spared to her in the pursuit of literary renown, we confidently predict for her an eminence in the world of letters not excelled by that of any of her country women and we even hope that she may surpass them all.

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VANITAS.

Ah, vainly we sigh for the summer

That dwells in the land of fair flowers;
And vainly we strive for the pleasures
And the bliss of happier hours!

For joy is a flower that bloometh

At morning, and fadeth at night;

The mem'ry thereof is outblotted

By thoughts which each day brings to light.

Care roots up the planting of pleasure;
The heart is the seat of all woe;
The worst of all pains is its throbbings,
Those pains that kill life as they go.

Love rises, entrances, and leaves us,

And hopes drift like leaves before wind;

All bright things and sweet take their leavings,
But sorrow remaineth behind.

K

How vain are the dreams which we cherish -
Those dreams in the dark future's mines;
They melt as the foam of the ocean,

And die like the music of rhymes!

When all things we have that are given,
Satiety is but the crown;

And while in the chase of strange visions,
In death's darkened vale we go down.

Then, oh! for a land of all beauty,

Where dwelleth the light of old days The soul is not cheated by falseness, And joy has bright, genuine rays.

THE LAST SCENE.

The last gun had sounded defiance to foes,
Each sword in its scabbard was lying;
Each vet'ran stood sternly, and thought on his woes,
And wept that his country was dying.

Our rifles were stacked, and our cannons were laid
In graves o'er which heroes were weeping;
We gazed on our banners the last time displayed,
And envied those then 'neath them sleeping.

Our chieftain and hero in sorrow passed by,
Yet proud-'neath its pall never drooping;
We loved him we cheered, yet our shout rose not high;
Our hearts were to destiny stooping.

We saw our proud banner, now conquered, fall low,
And that of the foe rise above it;

We felt that its folds should wave o'er us no more,
for then most did we love it.

And wept

We looked on our squadrons bowed down 'neath despair,
And thought on the dead clothed in glory;

Gazed, through blinding tears, on our country's black bier,
And longed to lie down with the gory!

We thought on our glory-our loved ones afar

The long years of toils and of dangers;
Then trembling, clasped hands, we worn brothers in war,
And proudly we parted 'mid strangers!

THE SENTINEL OF POMPEII.

Dr. Guthrie tells us a touching story of the fidelity of a Roman soldier at the destruction of Pompeii, who, although thousands fled from the city, remained at his post, because dishonorable to abandon it without being relieved, and died a death of useless, but of heroic devotion. He says: "After seventeen centuries they found his skeleton standing erect in a marble niche, clad in its rusty armor, the helmet on its empty skull, and its bony fingers still closed upon its spear."

Thick darkness had lowered, Vesuvius had sounded,
The flame of his wrath arose high in the sky;
Dense volumes of thick smoke the mountain surrounded,
And lay like a pall over doomed Pompeii.

Far, far in the distance the peal of his thunder

Vibrated, and shook the firm earth with its sound;
While, to his hot centre the mount rent asunder,

Red rivers of lava in fierceness poured down.

And thousands were gazing in fear and in horror,

And thousands, inured to it, dreamed not of doom;
But soon e'en the fearless beheld with deep sorrow

That ashes the city-themselves, would entomb.

Like snow-flakes, those ashes of dire desolation

Came thick, fast, and stifling, with burning-hot stones:
While momently grander the fierce conflagration

Loomed up in the distance, with death in its tones.

And near to the gate that looked out on the mountain,
A sentinel stood with his spear, keeping guard;

He saw the hot lava boil up like a fountain,
And heavily roll on the city toward.

He thought of his dear wife alone in her anguish,
The helpless ones weeping beside her in fear;
“Yet not e’en for sweet love must duty e'er languish,"
He murmured, and clasped again tightly his spear.

The hours passed slowly- none came to relieve him;
He called to his leader: "How long must I stay?"
Yet not for his life would that soldier deceive him,
But stood to his post through that terrible day.

He saw the dark ashes entombing the city;

He saw them rise up inch by inch to his chin;
He looked on the burning flood, and in deep pity
He uttered one prayer for his home, and was dead.

The city was covered, the lava flowed over,

And beauty and manliness, childhood and age, And rich things and beauteous now to discover, Were buried below by Vesuvius' rage.

Years, long years have passed, yet that sent'nel is standing, All helmeted, now disinterred, near his post;

And pilgrims, aweary at Pompeii landing,

Look on him, the strangest of all her strange host!

EXTRACTS FROM

"CONSTANTIUS: A TRAGEDY."

ACT I.-SCENE VI.

Soliloquy of MAGNENTIUS before assuming the imperial purple.

Mag. If I should fail -- why do I speak of it!
The great know no such word. Ambition's hand
Hath blotted it from off the mind of greatness!
When to weak fear bent proud determination,
Or yielded valor unto timorous doubt?
Though life is dear, yet fame is dearer still,
And those who grasp the laurel must have will!
The road to honor lies through dangerous grounds,
But they must brave all harms who win the wreath.

Why do I strive, when conscience bids be still,

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