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The Book of Martyrs

by Emily Dickinson

Read, sweet, how others strove,
Till we are stouter;
What they renounced,
Till we are less afraid;
How many times they bore
The faithful witness,
Till we are helped,
As if a kingdom cared!

Read then of faith
That shone above the fagot;
Clear strains of hymn
The river could not drown;
Brave names of men
And celestial women,
Passed out of record
Into renown!

Voices of the Night

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Pleasant it was, when woods were green,
  And winds were soft and low,
To lie amid some sylvan scene.
Where, the long drooping boughs between,
Shadows dark and sunlight sheen
  Alternate come and go;

Or where the denser grove receives
  No sunlight from above,
But the dark foliage interweaves
In one unbroken roof of leaves,
Underneath whose sloping eaves
  The shadows hardly move.

Beneath some patriarchal tree
  I lay upon the ground;
His hoary arms uplifted he,
And all the broad leaves over me
Clapped their little hands in glee,
  With one continuous sound;–

A slumberous sound, a sound that brings
  The feelings of a dream,
As of innumerable wings,
As, when a bell no longer swings,
Faint the hollow murmur rings
  O’er meadow, lake, and stream.

And dreams of that which cannot die,
  Bright visions, came to me,
As lapped in thought I used to lie,
And gaze into the summer sky,
Where the sailing clouds went by,
  Like ships upon the sea;

Dreams that the soul of youth engage
  Ere Fancy has been quelled;
Old legends of the monkish page,
Traditions of the saint and sage,
Tales that have the rime of age,
  And chronicles of Eld.

And, loving still these quaint old themes,
  Even in the city’s throng
I feel the freshness of the streams,
That, crossed by shades and sunny gleams,
Water the green land of dreams,
  The holy land of song.

Therefore, at Pentecost, which brings
  The Spring, clothed like a bride,
When nestling buds unfold their wings,
And bishop’s-caps have golden rings,
Musing upon many things,
  I sought the woodlands wide.

The green trees whispered low and mild;
  It was a sound of joy!
They were my playmates when a child,
And rocked me in their arms so wild!
Still they looked at me and smiled,
  As if I were a boy;

And ever whispered, mild and low,
  “Come, be a child once more!”
And waved their long arms to and fro,
And beckoned solemnly and slow;
O, I could not choose but go
  Into the woodlands hoar,–

Into the blithe and breathing air,
  Into the solemn wood,
Solemn and silent everywhere
Nature with folded hands seemed there
Kneeling at her evening prayer!
  Like one in prayer I stood.

Before me rose an avenue
  Of tall and sombrous pines;
Abroad their fan-like branches grew,
And, where the sunshine darted through,
Spread a vapor soft and blue,
  In long and sloping lines.

And, falling on my weary brain,
  Like a fast-falling shower,
The dreams of youth came back again,
Low lispings of the summer rain,
Dropping on the ripened grain,
  As once upon the flower.

Visions of childhood!  Stay, O stay!
  Ye were so sweet and wild!
And distant voices seemed to say,
“It cannot be!  They pass away!
Other themes demand thy lay;
  Thou art no more a child!

“The land of Song within thee lies,
  Watered by living springs;
The lids of Fancy’s sleepless eyes
Are gates unto that Paradise,
Holy thoughts, like stars, arise,
  Its clouds are angels’ wings.

“Learn, that henceforth thy song shall be,
  Not mountains capped with snow,
Nor forests sounding like the sea,
Nor rivers flowing ceaselessly,
Where the woodlands bend to see
  The bending heavens below.

“There is a forest where the din
  Of iron branches sounds!
A mighty river roars between,
And whosoever looks therein
Sees the heavens all black with sin,
  Sees not its depths, nor bounds.

“Athwart the swinging branches cast,
  Soft rays of sunshine pour;
Then comes the fearful wintry blast
Our hopes, like withered leaves, fail fast;
Pallid lips say, ‘It is past!
  We can return no more!,

“Look, then, into thine heart, and write!
  Yes, into Life’s deep stream!
All forms of sorrow and delight,
All solemn Voices of the Night,
That can soothe thee, or affright,–
  Be these henceforth thy theme.”

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER VIII

by Eleanor H. Porter

M. J. OPENS THE GAME
On the morning after Cyril’s first concert of
the season, Billy sat sewing with Aunt Hannah
in the little sitting-room at the end of the hall
upstairs.  Aunt Hannah wore only one shawl this
morning,–which meant that she was feeling
unusually well.

“Marie ought to be here to mend these stockings,”
remarked Billy, as she critically examined
a tiny break in the black silk mesh stretched across
the darning-egg in her hand; “only she’d want
a bigger hole.  She does so love to make a beautiful
black latticework bridge across a yawning white
china sea–and you’d think the safety of an
army depended on the way each plank was laid,
too,” she concluded.

Aunt Hannah smiled tranquilly, but she did
not speak.

“I suppose you don’t happen to know if Cyril
does wear big holes in his socks,” resumed Billy,
after a moment’s silence.  “If you’ll believe it,
that thought popped into my head last night when
Cyril was playing that concerto so superbly.  It
did, actually–right in the middle of the adagio
movement, too.  And in spite of my joy and pride
in the music I had all I could do to keep from
nudging Marie right there and then and asking
her whether or not the dear man was hard on
his hose.”

“Billy!” gasped the shocked Aunt Hannah;
but the gasp broke at once into what–in Aunt
Hannah–passed for a chuckle.  “If I remember
rightly, when I was there at the house with you
at first, my dear, William told me that Cyril
wouldn’t wear any sock after it came to mending.”

“Horrors!” Billy waved her stocking in
mock despair.  “That will never do in the world.
It would break Marie’s heart.  You know how she
dotes on darning.”

“Yes, I know,” smiled Aunt Hannah.  “By
the way, where is she this morning?”

Billy raised her eyebrows quizzically.

“Gone to look at an apartment in Cambridge, I
believe.  Really, Aunt Hannah, between her home-
hunting in the morning, and her furniture-and-
rug hunting in the afternoon, and her poring over
house-plans in the evening, I can’t get her to
attend to her clothes at all.  Never did I see a
bride so utterly indifferent to her trousseau as
Marie Hawthorn–and her wedding less than
a month away!”

“But she’s been shopping with you once or
twice, since she came back, hasn’t she?  And she
said it was for her trousseau.”

Billy laughed.

“Her trousseau!  Oh, yes, it was.  I’ll tell you
what she got for her trousseau that first day.
We started out to buy two hats, some lace for
her wedding gown, some cr<e^>pe de Chine and net
for a little dinner frock, and some silk for a couple
of waists to go with her tailored suit; and what did
we get?  We purchased a new-style egg-beater and
a set of cake tins.  Marie got into the kitchen
department and I simply couldn’t get her out of it.
But the next day I was not to be inveigled below
stairs by any plaintive prayer for a nutmeg-
grater or a soda spoon.  She _shopped_ that day, and
to some purpose.  We accomplished lots.”

Aunt Hannah looked a little concerned.

“But she must have _some_ things started!”

“Oh, she has–’most everything now.  _I’ve_
seen to that.  Of course her outfit is very simple,
anyway.  Marie hasn’t much money, you know,
and she simply won’t let me do half what I want
to.  Still, she had saved up some money, and I’ve
finally convinced her that a trousseau doesn’t
consist of egg-beaters and cake tins, and that
Cyril would want her to look pretty.  That name
will fetch her every time, and I’ve learned to
use it beautifully.  I think if I told her Cyril
approved of short hair and near-sightedness she’d
I cut off her golden locks and don spectacles on the
spot.”

Aunt Hannah laughed softly.

“What a child you are, Billy!  Besides, just
as if Marie were the only one in the house who is
ruled by a magic name!”

The color deepened in Billy’s cheeks.

“Well, of course, any girl–cares something–
for the man she loves.  Just as if I wouldn’t do
anything in the world I could for Bertram!”

“Oh, that makes me think; who was that young
woman Bertram was talking with last evening–
just after he left us, I mean?”

“Miss Winthrop–Miss Marguerite Winthrop.
Bertram is–is painting her portrait, you know.”

“Oh, is that the one?” murmured Aunt
Hannah.  “Hm-m; well, she has a beautiful face.”

“Yes, she has.”  Billy spoke very cheerfully.
She even hummed a little tune as she carefully
selected a needle from the cushion in her basket.

“There’s a peculiar something in her face,”
mused Aunt Hannah, aloud.

The little tune stopped abruptly, ending in a
nervous laugh.

“Dear me!  I wonder how it feels to have a
peculiar something in your face.  Bertram, too,
says she has it.  He’s trying to `catch it,’ he says.
I wonder now–if he does catch it, does she lose
it?”  Flippant as were the words, the voice that
uttered them shook a little.

Aunt Hannah smiled indulgently–Aunt Hannah
had heard only the flippancy, not the shake.

“I don’t know, my dear.  You might ask him
this afternoon.”

Billy made a sudden movement.  The china
egg in her lap rolled to the floor.

“Oh, but I don’t see him this afternoon,” she
said lightly, as she stooped to pick up the egg.

“Why, I’m sure he told me–”  Aunt Hannah’s
sentence ended in a questioning pause.

“Yes, I know,” nodded Billy, brightly; “but
he’s told me something since.  He isn’t going.
He telephoned me this morning.  Miss Winthrop
wanted the sitting changed from to-morrow to
this afternoon.  He said he knew I’d understand.”

“Why, yes; but–”  Aunt Hannah did not
finish her sentence.  The whir of an electric bell
had sounded through the house.  A few moments
later Rosa appeared in the open doorway.

“It,’s Mr. Arkwright, Miss.  He said as how
he had brought the music,” she announced.

“Tell him I’ll be down at once,” directed the
mistress of Hillside.

As the maid disappeared, Billy put aside her
work and sprang lightly to her feet.

“Now wasn’t that nice of him?  We were
talking last night about some duets he had, and he
said he’d bring them over.  I didn’t know he’d
come so soon, though.”

Billy had almost reached the bottom of the
stairway, when a low, familiar strain of music drifted
out from the living-room.  Billy caught her breath,
and held her foot suspended.  The next moment
the familiar strain of music had become a lullaby
–one of Billy’s own–and sung now by a melting
tenor voice that lingered caressingly and
understandingly on every tender cadence.

Motionless and almost breathless, Billy waited
until the last low “lul-la-by” vibrated into
silence; then with shining eyes and outstretched
hands she entered the living-room.

“Oh, that was–beautiful,” she breathed.

Arkwright was on his feet instantly.  His eyes,
too, were alight.

“I could not resist singing it just once–
here,” he said a little unsteadily, as their hands
met.

“But to hear my little song sung like that!
I couldn’t believe it was mine,” choked Billy,
still plainly very much moved.  “You sang it as
I’ve never heard it sung before.”

Arkwright shook his head slowly.

“The inspiration of the room–that is all,”,
he said.  “It is a beautiful song.  All of your songs
are beautiful.”

Billy blushed rosily.

“Thank you.  You know–more of them,
then?”

“I think I know them all–unless you have
some new ones out.  Have you some new ones,
lately?”

Billy shook her head.

“No; I haven’t written anything since last
spring.”

“But you’re going to?”

She drew a long sigh.

“Yes, oh, yes.  I know that _now_–”  With a
swift biting of her lower lip Billy caught herself
up in time.  As if she could tell this man, this
stranger, what she had told Bertram that night
by the fire–that she knew that now, _now_ she
would write beautiful songs, with his love, and
his pride in her, as incentives.  “Oh, yes, I think
I shall write more one of these days,” she finished
lightly.  “But come, this isn’t singing duets!  I
want to see the music you brought.”

They sang then, one after another of the duets.
To Billy, the music was new and interesting.
To Billy, too, it was new (and interesting) to hear
her own voice blending with another’s so perfectly
–to feel herself a part of such exquisite harmony.

“Oh, oh!” she breathed ecstatically, after the
last note of a particularly beautiful phrase.  “I
never knew before how lovely it was to sing
duets.”

“Nor I,” replied Arkwright in a voice that was
not quite steady.

Arkwright’s eyes were on the enraptured face
of the girl so near him.  It was well, perhaps,
that Billy did not happen to turn and catch their
expression.  Still, it might have been better if
she had turned, after all.  But Billy’s eyes were
on the music before her.  Her fingers were busy
with the fluttering pages, searching for another
duet.

“Didn’t you?” she murmured abstractedly.
“I supposed _you’d_ sung them before; but you
see I never did–until the other night.  There,
let’s try this one!”

“This one” was followed by another and
another.  Then Billy drew a long breath.

“There! that must positively be the last,”
she declared reluctantly.  “I’m so hoarse now
I can scarcely croak.  You see, I don’t pretend
to sing, really.”

“Don’t you?  You sing far better than some
who do, anyhow,”retorted the man, warmly.

“Thank you,” smiled Billy; “that was nice
of you to say so–for my sake–and the others
aren’t here to care.  But tell me of yourself.  I
haven’t had a chance to ask you yet; and–I
think you said Mary Jane was going to study for
Grand Opera.”

Arkwright laughed and shrugged his shoulders.

“She is; but, as I told Calderwell, she’s quite
likely to bring up in vaudeville.”

“Calderwell!  Do you mean–Hugh Calderwell?”
Billy’s cheeks showed a deeper color.

The man gave an embarrassed little laugh.  He
had not meant to let that name slip out just yet.

“Yes.”  He hesitated, then plunged on
recklessly.  “We tramped half over Europe together
last summer.”

“Did you?”  Billy left her seat at the piano
for one nearer the fire.  “But this isn’t telling
me about your own plans,” she hurried on a little
precipitately.  “You’ve studied before, of course.
Your voice shows that.”

“Oh, yes; I’ve studied singing several years,
and I’ve had a year or two of church work,
besides a little concert practice of a mild sort.”

“Have you begun here, yet?”

“Y-yes, I’ve had my voice tried.”

Billy sat erect with eager interest.

“They liked it, of course?”

Arkwright laughed.

“I’m not saying that.”

“No, but I am,” declared Billy, with conviction.
“They couldn’t help liking it.”

Arkwright laughed again.  Just how well they
had “liked it” he did not intend to say.  Their
remarks had been quite too flattering to repeat
even to this very plainly interested young woman
–delightful and heart-warming as was this same
show of interest, to himself.

“Thank you,” was all he said.

Billy gave an excited little bounce in her
chair.

“And you’ll begin to learn r<o^>les right away?”

“I already have, some–after a fashion–before
I came here.”

“Really?  How splendid!  Why, then you’ll
be acting them next right on the Boston Opera
House stage, and we’ll all go to hear you.  How
perfectly lovely!  I can hardly wait.”

Arkwright laughed–but his eyes glowed with
pleasure.

“Aren’t you hurrying things a little?” he
ventured.

“But they do let the students appear,”
argued Billy.  “I knew a girl last year who went on

in `Aida,’ and she was a pupil at the School.
She sang first in a Sunday concert, then they put
her in the bill for a Saturday night.  She did
splendidly–so well that they gave her a chance
later at a subscription performance.  Oh, you’ll
be there–and soon, too!”

“Thank you!  I only wish the powers that
could put me there had your flattering enthusiasm
on the matter,” he smiled.

“I don’t worry any,” nodded Billy, “only
please don’t `arrive’ too soon–not before the
wedding, you know,” she added jokingly.  “We
shall be too busy to give you proper attention
until after that.”

A peculiar look crossed Arkwright’s face.

“The–_wedding?_” he asked, a little faintly.

“Yes.  Didn’t you know?  My friend, Miss
Hawthorn, is to marry Mr. Cyril Henshaw next
month.”

The man opposite relaxed visibly.

“Oh, _Miss Hawthorn!_  No, I didn’t know,”
he murmured; then, with sudden astonishment
he added:  “And to Mr. Cyril, the musician,
did you say?”

“Yes.  You seem surprised.”

“I am.”  Arkwright paused, then went on
almost defiantly.  “You see, Calderwell was
telling me only last September how very
unmarriageable all the Henshaw brothers were.  So
I am surprised–naturally,” finished Arkwright,
as he rose to take his leave.

A swift crimson stained Billy’s face.

“But surely you must know that–that–”

“That he has a right to change his mind, of
course,” supplemented Arkwright smilingly,
coming to her rescue in the evident confusion that
would not let her finish her sentence.  “But
Calderwell made it so emphatic, you see, about
all the brothers.  He said that William had lost
his heart long ago; that Cyril hadn’t any to lose;
and that Bertram–”

“But, Mr. Arkwright, Bertram is–is–”
Billy had moistened her lips, and plunged hurriedly
in to prevent Arkwright’s next words.  But again
was she unable to finish her sentence, and again
was she forced to listen to a very different
completion from the smiling lips of the man at her
side.

“Is an artist, of course,” said Arkwright.
“That’s what Calderwell declared–that it
would always be the tilt of a chin or the curve
of a cheek that the artist loved–to paint.”

Billy drew back suddenly.  Her face paled.
As if _now_ she could tell this man that Bertram
Henshaw was engaged to her!  He would find it
out soon, of course, for himself; and perhaps he,
like Hugh Calderwell, would think it was the
curve of _her_ cheek, or the tilt of _her_ chin–

Billy lifted her chin very defiantly now as she
held out her hand in good-by.

Annabel Lee

by Edgar Allan Poe
  It was many and many a year ago,
    In a kingdom by the sea,
  That a maiden there lived whom you may know
    By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
  And this maiden she lived with no other thought
    Than to love and be loved by me.

  I was a child and she was a child,
    In this kingdom by the sea:
  But we loved with a love that was more than love–
    I and my ANNABEL LEE;
  With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
    Coveted her and me.

  And this was the reason that, long ago,
    In this kingdom by the sea,
  A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
    My beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  So that her highborn kinsmen came
    And bore her away from me,
  To shut her up in a sepulchre
    In this kingdom by the sea.

  The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
    Went envying her and me–
  Yes!–that was the reason (as all men know,
    In this kingdom by the sea)
  That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
    Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE.

  But our love it was stronger by far than the love
    Of those who were older than we–
    Of many far wiser than we–
  And neither the angels in heaven above,
    Nor the demons down under the sea,
  Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE.

  For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
  Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
    In her sepulchre there by the sea–
    In her tomb by the side of the sea.

MRS. BROWNING’S GRAVE AT FLORENCE

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Florence wears an added grace,
  All her earlier honors crowning;
Dante’s birthplace, Art’s fair home,
  Holds the dust of Barrett Browning.

Guardian of the noble dead
  That beneath thy soil lie sleeping,
England, with full heart, commends
  This new treasure to thy keeping.

Take her, she is half thine own;
  In her verses’ rich outpouring,
Breathes the warm Italian heart,
  Yearning for the land’s restoring.

From thy skies her poet-heart
  Caught a fresher inspiration,
And her soul obtained new strength,
  With her bodily translation.

Freely take what thou hast given,
  Less her verses’ rhythmic beauty,
Than the stirring notes that called
  Trumpet-like thy sons to duty.

Rarest of exotic flowers
  In thy native chaplet twining,
To the temple of thy great
  Add her–she is worth enshrining.

To Zante

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers,
    Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take!
  How many memories of what radiant hours
    At sight of thee and thine at once awake!
  How many scenes of what departed bliss!
    How many thoughts of what entombed hopes!
  How many visions of a maiden that is
    No more–no more upon thy verdant slopes!

  _No more!_ alas, that magical sad sound
    Transforming all! Thy charms shall please _no more_–
  Thy memory _no more!_ Accursed ground
    Henceforward I hold thy flower-enamelled shore,
  O hyacinthine isle! O purple Zante!
    “Isola d’oro! Fior di Levante!”

by Emily Dickinson

The brain within its groove
Runs evenly and true;
But let a splinter swerve,
‘T were easier for you
To put the water back
When floods have slit the hills,
And scooped a turnpike for themselves,
And blotted out the mills!

“In Youth I Have Known One:

by Edgar Allan Poe
          How often we forget all time, when lone
          Admiring Nature’s universal throne;
          Her woods–her wilds–her mountains–the intense
          Reply of Hers to Our intelligence!
I.        In youth I have known one with whom the Earth
            In secret communing held–as he with it,
          In daylight, and in beauty, from his birth:
            Whose fervid, flickering torch of life was lit
          From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth
            A passionate light such for his spirit was fit–
          And yet that spirit knew–not in the hour
            Of its own fervor–what had o’er it power.
II.       Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought
            To a ferver [1] by the moonbeam that hangs o’er,
          But I will half believe that wild light fraught
            With more of sovereignty than ancient lore
          Hath ever told–or is it of a thought
            The unembodied essence, and no more
          That with a quickening spell doth o’er us pass
            As dew of the night-time, o’er the summer grass?
III.      Doth o’er us pass, when, as th’ expanding eye
            To the loved object–so the tear to the lid
          Will start, which lately slept in apathy?
            And yet it need not be–(that object) hid
          From us in life–but common–which doth lie
            Each hour before us–but then only bid
          With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken
            T’ awake us–’Tis a symbol and a token–
IV.       Of what in other worlds shall be–and given
            In beauty by our God, to those alone
          Who otherwise would fall from life and Heaven
            Drawn by their heart’s passion, and that tone,
          That high tone of the spirit which hath striven
            Though not with Faith–with godliness–whose throne
          With desperate energy ‘t hath beaten down;
            Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.
 

To a Child Reading

by Edward Doyle

  My darling, spell the words out. You may creep
    Across the syllables on hands and knees,
    And stumble often, yet pass me with ease
  And reach the spring upon the summit steep.
  Oh, I could lay me down, dear child, and weep
    These charr’d orbs out, but that you then might cease
    Your upward effort, and with inquiries
  Stoop down and probe my heart too deep, too deep!
  I thirst for Knowledge. Oh, for an endless drink
    Your goblet leaks the whole way from the spring–
  No matter, to its rim a few drops cling,
  And these refresh me with the joy to think
    That you, my darling, have the morning’s wing
  To cross the mountain at whose base I sink.

A Soldier’s Valentine

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Just from the sentry’s tramp
  (I must take it again at ten),
I have laid my musket down,
  And seized instead my pen;
For, pacing my lonely round
  In the chilly twilight gray,
The thought, dear Mary, came,
  That this is St. Valentine’s Day.

And with the thought there came
  A glimpse of the happy time
When a school-boy’s first attempt
  I sent you, in borrowed rhyme,
On a gilt-edged sheet, embossed
  With many a quaint design,
And signed, in school-boy hand,
  “Your loving Valentine.”

The years have come and gone,–
  Have flown, I know not where, –
And the school-boy’s merry face
  Is grave with manhood’s care;
But the heart of the man still beats
  At the well-remembered name,
And on this St. Valentine’s Day
  His choice is still the same.

There was a time– ah, well!
  Think not that I repine
When I dreamed this happy day
  Would smile on you as mine;
But I heard my country’s call;
  I knew her need was sore.
Thank God, no selfish thought
  Withheld me from the war.

But when the dear old flag
  Shall float in its ancient pride,
When the twain shall be made one,
  And feuds no more divide,–
I will lay my musket down,
  My martial garb resign,
And turn my joyous feet
  Toward home and Valentine.

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