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by Edgar Allan Poe

I heed not that my earthly lot
    Hath–little of Earth in it–
  That years of love have been forgot
    In the hatred of a minute:–
  I mourn not that the desolate
    Are happier, sweet, than I,
  But that you sorrow for my fate
    Who am a passer-by.

To Helen

by Edgar Allan Poe
  I saw thee once–once only–years ago:
  I must not say how many–but not many.
  It was a July midnight; and from out
  A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,
  Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,
  There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,
  With quietude, and sultriness and slumber,
  Upon the upturn’d faces of a thousand
  Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,
  Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe–
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of these roses
  That gave out, in return for the love-light,
  Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death–
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of these roses
  That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted
  By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.

  Clad all in white, upon a violet bank
  I saw thee half-reclining; while the moon
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of the roses,
  And on thine own, upturn’d–alas, in sorrow!

  Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight–
  Was it not Fate (whose name is also Sorrow),
  That bade me pause before that garden-gate,
  To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?
  No footstep stirred: the hated world all slept,
  Save only thee and me–(O Heaven!–O God!
  How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)–
  Save only thee and me. I paused–I looked–
  And in an instant all things disappeared.
  (Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)
  The pearly lustre of the moon went out:
  The mossy banks and the meandering paths,
  The happy flowers and the repining trees,
  Were seen no more: the very roses’ odors
  Died in the arms of the adoring airs.
  All–all expired save thee–save less than thou:
  Save only the divine light in thine eyes–
  Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.
  I saw but them–they were the world to me.
  I saw but them–saw only them for hours–
  Saw only them until the moon went down.
  What wild heart-histories seemed to lie unwritten
  Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres!
  How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope!
  How silently serene a sea of pride!
  How daring an ambition! yet how deep–
  How fathomless a capacity for love!

  But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,
  Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;
  And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees
  Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained.
  They would not go–they never yet have gone.
  Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,
  They have not left me (as my hopes have) since.
  They follow me–they lead me through the years.

  They are my ministers–yet I their slave.
  Their office is to illumine and enkindle–
  My duty, to be saved by their bright light,
  And purified in their electric fire,
  And sanctified in their elysian fire.
  They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),
  And are far up in Heaven–the stars I kneel to
  In the sad, silent watches of my night;
  While even in the meridian glare of day
  I see them still–two sweetly scintillant
  Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!

by Emily Dickinson

Have you got a brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so?

And nobody knows, so still it flows,
That any brook is there;
And yet your little draught of life
Is daily drunken there.

Then look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the hills,
And the bridges often go.

And later, in August it may be,
When the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life
Some burning noon go dry!

The Daemon of the World

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Nec tantum prodere vati,
Quantum scire licet. Venit aetas omnis in unam
Congeriem, miserumque premunt tot saecula pectus.
LUCAN, Phars. v. 176.

How wonderful is Death,
Death and his brother Sleep!
One pale as yonder wan and horned moon,
With lips of lurid blue,
The other glowing like the vital morn,                              
When throned on ocean’s wave
It breathes over the world:
Yet both so passing strange and wonderful!

Hath then the iron-sceptred Skeleton,
Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres,                          
To the hell dogs that couch beneath his throne
Cast that fair prey? Must that divinest form,
Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, whose azure veins
Steal like dark streams along a field of snow,                   
Whose outline is as fair as marble clothed
In light of some sublimest mind, decay?
Nor putrefaction’s breath
Leave aught of this pure spectacle
But loathsomeness and ruin?–                                       
Spare aught but a dark theme,
On which the lightest heart might moralize?
Or is it but that downy-winged slumbers
Have charmed their nurse coy Silence near her lids
To watch their own repose?                                          
Will they, when morning’s beam
Flows through those wells of light,
Seek far from noise and day some western cave,
Where woods and streams with soft and pausing winds
A lulling murmur weave?–                                           
Ianthe doth not sleep
The dreamless sleep of death:
Nor in her moonlight chamber silently
Doth Henry hear her regular pulses throb,
Or mark her delicate cheek                                          
With interchange of hues mock the broad moon,
Outwatching weary night,
Without assured reward.
Her dewy eyes are closed;
On their translucent lids, whose texture fine              
Scarce hides the dark blue orbs that burn below
With unapparent fire,
The baby Sleep is pillowed:
Her golden tresses shade
The bosom’s stainless pride,                                        
Twining like tendrils of the parasite
Around a marble column.

Hark! whence that rushing sound?
‘Tis like a wondrous strain that sweeps
Around a lonely ruin                                                
When west winds sigh and evening waves respond
In whispers from the shore:
‘Tis wilder than the unmeasured notes
Which from the unseen lyres of dells and groves
The genii of the breezes sweep.                              
Floating on waves of music and of light,
The chariot of the Daemon of the World
Descends in silent power:
Its shape reposed within: slight as some cloud
That catches but the palest tinge of day                
When evening yields to night,
Bright as that fibrous woof when stars indue
Its transitory robe.
Four shapeless shadows bright and beautiful
Draw that strange car of glory, reins of light         
Check their unearthly speed; they stop and fold
Their wings of braided air:
The Daemon leaning from the ethereal car
Gazed on the slumbering maid.
Human eye hath ne’er beheld                                  
A shape so wild, so bright, so beautiful,
As that which o’er the maiden’s charmed sleep
Waving a starry wand,
Hung like a mist of light.
Such sounds as breathed around like odorous winds 
Of wakening spring arose,
Filling the chamber and the moonlight sky.
Maiden, the world’s supremest spirit
Beneath the shadow of her wings
Folds all thy memory doth inherit                                
From ruin of divinest things,
Feelings that lure thee to betray,
And light of thoughts that pass away.
For thou hast earned a mighty boon,
The truths which wisest poets see                                
Dimly, thy mind may make its own,
Rewarding its own majesty,
Entranced in some diviner mood
Of self-oblivious solitude.

Custom, and Faith, and Power thou spurnest;            
From hate and awe thy heart is free;
Ardent and pure as day thou burnest,
For dark and cold mortality
A living light, to cheer it long,
The watch-fires of the world among.                            

Therefore from nature’s inner shrine,
Where gods and fiends in worship bend,
Majestic spirit, be it thine
The flame to seize, the veil to rend,
Where the vast snake Eternity                                      
In charmed sleep doth ever lie.

All that inspires thy voice of love,
Or speaks in thy unclosing eyes,
Or through thy frame doth burn or move,
Or think or feel, awake, arise!                                     
Spirit, leave for mine and me
Earth’s unsubstantial mimicry!

It ceased, and from the mute and moveless frame
A radiant spirit arose,
All beautiful in naked purity.                                      
Robed in its human hues it did ascend,

Disparting as it went the silver clouds,
It moved towards the car, and took its seat
Beside the Daemon shape.

Obedient to the sweep of aery song,                       
The mighty ministers
Unfurled their prismy wings.
The magic car moved on;
The night was fair, innumerable stars
Studded heaven’s dark blue vault;                          
The eastern wave grew pale
With the first smile of morn.
The magic car moved on.
From the swift sweep of wings
The atmosphere in flaming sparkles flew;              
And where the burning wheels
Eddied above the mountain’s loftiest peak
Was traced a line of lightning.
Now far above a rock the utmost verge
Of the wide earth it flew,                                          
The rival of the Andes, whose dark brow
Frowned o’er the silver sea.
Far, far below the chariot’s stormy path,
Calm as a slumbering babe,
Tremendous ocean lay.                                              
Its broad and silent mirror gave to view
The pale and waning stars,
The chariot’s fiery track,
And the grey light of morn
Tingeing those fleecy clouds                                      
That cradled in their folds the infant dawn.
The chariot seemed to fly
Through the abyss of an immense concave,
Radiant with million constellations, tinged
With shades of infinite colour,                                   
And semicircled with a belt
Flashing incessant meteors.

As they approached their goal,
The winged shadows seemed to gather speed.
The sea no longer was distinguished; earth            
Appeared a vast and shadowy sphere, suspended
In the black concave of heaven
With the sun’s cloudless orb,
Whose rays of rapid light
Parted around the chariot’s swifter course,            
And fell like ocean’s feathery spray
Dashed from the boiling surge
Before a vessel’s prow.

The magic car moved on.
Earth’s distant orb appeared                                        

The smallest light that twinkles in the heavens,
Whilst round the chariot’s way
Innumerable systems widely rolled,
And countless spheres diffused
An ever varying glory.                                              
It was a sight of wonder! Some were horned,
And like the moon’s argentine crescent hung
In the dark dome of heaven; some did shed
A clear mild beam like Hesperus, while the sea
Yet glows with fading sunlight; others dashed       
Athwart the night with trains of bickering fire,
Like sphered worlds to death and ruin driven;
Some shone like stars, and as the chariot passed
Bedimmed all other light.

Spirit of Nature! here                                              
In this interminable wilderness
Of worlds, at whose involved immensity
Even soaring fancy staggers,
Here is thy fitting temple.
Yet not the lightest leaf                                           
That quivers to the passing breeze
Is less instinct with thee,–
Yet not the meanest worm.
That lurks in graves and fattens on the dead,
Less shares thy eternal breath.                              
Spirit of Nature! thou
Imperishable as this glorious scene,
Here is thy fitting temple.

If solitude hath ever led thy steps
To the shore of the immeasurable sea,                  
And thou hast lingered there
Until the sun’s broad orb
Seemed resting on the fiery line of ocean,
Thou must have marked the braided webs of gold
That without motion hang                                       
Over the sinking sphere:
Thou must have marked the billowy mountain clouds,
Edged with intolerable radiancy,
Towering like rocks of jet
Above the burning deep:                                         
And yet there is a moment
When the sun’s highest point
Peers like a star o’er ocean’s western edge,
When those far clouds of feathery purple gleam
Like fairy lands girt by some heavenly sea:         
Then has thy rapt imagination soared
Where in the midst of all existing things
The temple of the mightiest Daemon stands.

Yet not the golden islands
That gleam amid yon flood of purple light,           
Nor the feathery curtains
That canopy the sun’s resplendent couch,
Nor the burnished ocean waves
Paving that gorgeous dome,
So fair, so wonderful a sight                                    
As the eternal temple could afford.
The elements of all that human thought
Can frame of lovely or sublime, did join
To rear the fabric of the fane, nor aught
Of earth may image forth its majesty.                  
Yet likest evening’s vault that faery hall,
As heaven low resting on the wave it spread
Its floors of flashing light,
Its vast and azure dome;
And on the verge of that obscure abyss                
Where crystal battlements o’erhang the gulf
Of the dark world, ten thousand spheres diffuse
Their lustre through its adamantine gates.

The magic car no longer moved;
The Daemon and the Spirit                                     
Entered the eternal gates.
Those clouds of aery gold
That slept in glittering billows
Beneath the azure canopy,
With the ethereal footsteps trembled not;            
While slight and odorous mists
Floated to strains of thrilling melody
Through the vast columns and the pearly shrines.

The Daemon and the Spirit
Approached the overhanging battlement,            
Below lay stretched the boundless universe!
There, far as the remotest line
That limits swift imagination’s flight.
Unending orbs mingled in mazy motion,
Immutably fulfilling                                                
Eternal Nature’s law.
Above, below, around,
The circling systems formed
A wilderness of harmony.
Each with undeviating aim                                     
In eloquent silence through the depths of space
Pursued its wondrous way.–

Awhile the Spirit paused in ecstasy.
Yet soon she saw, as the vast spheres swept by,
Strange things within their belted orbs appear.        
Like animated frenzies, dimly moved
Shadows, and skeletons, and fiendly shapes,
Thronging round human graves, and o’er the dead
Sculpturing records for each memory
In verse, such as malignant gods pronounce,            
Blasting the hopes of men, when heaven and hell
Confounded burst in ruin o’er the world:
And they did build vast trophies, instruments
Of murder, human bones, barbaric gold,
Skins torn from living men, and towers of skulls      
With sightless holes gazing on blinder heaven,
Mitres, and crowns, and brazen chariots stained
With blood, and scrolls of mystic wickedness,
The sanguine codes of venerable crime.
The likeness of a throned king came by.                    
When these had passed, bearing upon his brow
A threefold crown; his countenance was calm.
His eye severe and cold; but his right hand
Was charged with bloody coin, and he did gnaw
By fits, with secret smiles, a human heart                 
Concealed beneath his robe; and motley shapes,
A multitudinous throng, around him knelt.
With bosoms bare, and bowed heads, and false looks
Of true submission, as the sphere rolled by.
Brooking no eye to witness their foul shame,            
Which human hearts must feel, while human tongues
Tremble to speak, they did rage horribly,
Breathing in self-contempt fierce blasphemies
Against the Daemon of the World, and high
Hurling their armed hands where the pure Spirit,   
Serene and inaccessibly secure,
Stood on an isolated pinnacle.
The flood of ages combating below,
The depth of the unbounded universe
Above, and all around                                             

Necessity’s unchanging harmony.

O happy Earth! reality of Heaven!
To which those restless powers that ceaselessly
Throng through the human universe aspire;
Thou consummation of all mortal hope!                               
Thou glorious prize of blindly-working will!
Whose rays, diffused throughout all space and time,
Verge to one point and blend for ever there:
Of purest spirits thou pure dwelling-place!
Where care and sorrow, impotence and crime,                         
Languor, disease, and ignorance dare not come:
O happy Earth, reality of Heaven!

Genius has seen thee in her passionate dreams,
And dim forebodings of thy loveliness,
Haunting the human heart, have there entwined        
Those rooted hopes, that the proud Power of Evil
Shall not for ever on this fairest world
Shake pestilence and war, or that his slaves
With blasphemy for prayer, and human blood
For sacrifice, before his shrine for ever                         
In adoration bend, or Erebus
With all its banded fiends shall not uprise
To overwhelm in envy and revenge
The dauntless and the good, who dare to hurl
Defiance at his throne, girt tho’ it be                             
With Death’s omnipotence. Thou hast beheld
His empire, o’er the present and the past;
It was a desolate sight–now gaze on mine,
Futurity. Thou hoary giant Time,
Render thou up thy half-devoured babes,–                    
And from the cradles of eternity,
Where millions lie lulled to their portioned sleep
By the deep murmuring stream of passing things,
Tear thou that gloomy shroud.–Spirit, behold
Thy glorious destiny!

The Spirit saw                                                      
The vast frame of the renovated world
Smile in the lap of Chaos, and the sense
Of hope thro’ her fine texture did suffuse
Such varying glow, as summer evening casts
On undulating clouds and deepening lakes.                          
Like the vague sighings of a wind at even,
That wakes the wavelets of the slumbering sea
And dies on the creation of its breath,
And sinks and rises, fails and swells by fits,
Was the sweet stream of thought that with wild motion    
Flowed o’er the Spirit’s human sympathies.
The mighty tide of thought had paused awhile,
Which from the Daemon now like Ocean’s stream
Again began to pour.–

To me is given
The wonders of the human world to keep-                  
Space, matter, time and mind–let the sight
Renew and strengthen all thy failing hope.
All things are recreated, and the flame
Of consentaneous love inspires all life:
The fertile bosom of the earth gives suck                    
To myriads, who still grow beneath her care,
Rewarding her with their pure perfectness:
The balmy breathings of the wind inhale
Her virtues, and diffuse them all abroad:
Health floats amid the gentle atmosphere,                  
Glows in the fruits, and mantles on the stream;
No storms deform the beaming brow of heaven,
Nor scatter in the freshness of its pride
The foliage of the undecaying trees;
But fruits are ever ripe, flowers ever fair,                   
And Autumn proudly bears her matron grace,
Kindling a flush on the fair cheek of Spring,
Whose virgin bloom beneath the ruddy fruit
Reflects its tint and blushes into love.

The habitable earth is full of bliss;                               
Those wastes of frozen billows that were hurled
By everlasting snow-storms round the poles,
Where matter dared not vegetate nor live,
But ceaseless frost round the vast solitude
Bound its broad zone of stillness, are unloosed;             
And fragrant zephyrs there from spicy isles
Ruffle the placid ocean-deep, that rolls
Its broad, bright surges to the sloping sand,
Whose roar is wakened into echoings sweet
To murmur through the heaven-breathing groves       
And melodise with man’s blest nature there.

The vast tract of the parched and sandy waste
Now teems with countless rills and shady woods,
Corn-fields and pastures and white cottages;
And where the startled wilderness did hear                   
A savage conqueror stained in kindred blood,
Hymmng his victory, or the milder snake
Crushing the bones of some frail antelope
Within his brazen folds–the dewy lawn,
Offering sweet incense to the sunrise, smiles                 
To see a babe before his mother’s door,
Share with the green and golden basilisk
That comes to lick his feet, his morning’s meal.

Those trackless deeps, where many a weary sail
Has seen, above the illimitable plain,                              
Morning on night and night on morning rise,
Whilst still no land to greet the wanderer spread
Its shadowy mountains on the sunbright sea,
Where the loud roarings of the tempest-waves
So long have mingled with the gusty wind                            
In melancholy loneliness, and swept
The desert of those ocean solitudes,
But vocal to the sea-bird’s harrowing shriek,
The bellowing monster, and the rushing storm,
Now to the sweet and many-mingling sounds                         
Of kindliest human impulses respond:
Those lonely realms bright garden-isles begem,
With lightsome clouds and shining seas between,
And fertile valleys resonant with bliss,
Whilst green woods overcanopy the wave,                             
Which like a toil-worn labourer leaps to shore,
To meet the kisses of the flowerets there.

Man chief perceives the change, his being notes
The gradual renovation, and defines
Each movement of its progress on his mind.                        
Man, where the gloom of the long polar night
Lowered o’er the snow-clad rocks and frozen soil,
Where scarce the hardiest herb that braves the frost
Basked in the moonlight’s ineffectual glow,
Shrank with the plants, and darkened with the night;   
Nor where the tropics bound the realms of day
With a broad belt of mingling cloud and flame,
Where blue mists through the unmoving atmosphere
Scattered the seeds of pestilence, and fed
Unnatural vegetation, where the land                              
Teemed with all earthquake, tempest and disease,
Was man a nobler being; slavery
Had crushed him to his country’s blood-stained dust.

Even where the milder zone afforded man
A seeming shelter, yet contagion there,                           
Blighting his being with unnumbered ills,
Spread like a quenchless fire; nor truth availed
Till late to arrest its progress, or create
That peace which first in bloodless victory waved
Her snowy standard o’er this favoured clime:                
There man was long the train-bearer of slaves,
The mimic of surrounding misery,
The jackal of ambition’s lion-rage,
The bloodhound of religion’s hungry zeal.

Here now the human being stands adorning                  
This loveliest earth with taintless body and mind;
Blest from his birth with all bland impulses,
Which gently in his noble bosom wake
All kindly passions and all pure desires.
Him, still from hope to hope the bliss pursuing,             
Which from the exhaustless lore of human weal
Dawns on the virtuous mind, the thoughts that rise
In time-destroying infiniteness gift
With self-enshrined eternity, that mocks
The unprevailing hoariness of age,                                  
And man, once fleeting o’er the transient scene
Swift as an unremembered vision, stands
Immortal upon earth: no longer now
He slays the beast that sports around his dwelling
And horribly devours its mangled flesh,                            
Or drinks its vital blood, which like a stream
Of poison thro’ his fevered veins did flow
Feeding a plague that secretly consumed
His feeble frame, and kindling in his mind
Hatred, despair, and fear and vain belief,                          
The germs of misery, death, disease and crime.
No longer now the winged habitants,
That in the woods their sweet lives sing away,
Flee from the form of man; but gather round,
And prune their sunny feathers on the hands                  
Which little children stretch in friendly sport
Towards these dreadless partners of their play.
All things are void of terror: man has lost
His desolating privilege, and stands
An equal amidst equals: happiness                                   
And science dawn though late upon the earth;
Peace cheers the mind, health renovates the frame;
Disease and pleasure cease to mingle here,
Reason and passion cease to combat there;
Whilst mind unfettered o’er the earth extends                  
Its all-subduing energies, and wields
The sceptre of a vast dominion there.

Mild is the slow necessity of death:
The tranquil spirit fails beneath its grasp,
Without a groan, almost without a fear,                             
Resigned in peace to the necessity,
Calm as a voyager to some distant land,
And full of wonder, full of hope as he.
The deadly germs of languor and disease
Waste in the human frame, and Nature gifts                      
With choicest boons her human worshippers.
How vigorous now the athletic form of age!
How clear its open and unwrinkled brow!
Where neither avarice, cunning, pride, or care,
Had stamped the seal of grey deformity                             
On all the mingling lineaments of time.
How lovely the intrepid front of youth!
How sweet the smiles of taintless infancy.

Within the massy prison’s mouldering courts,
Fearless and free the ruddy children play,                         
Weaving gay chaplets for their innocent brows
With the green ivy and the red wall-flower,
That mock the dungeon’s unavailing gloom;
The ponderous chains, and gratings of strong iron,
There rust amid the accumulated ruins                              
Now mingling slowly with their native earth:
There the broad beam of day, which feebly once
Lighted the cheek of lean captivity
With a pale and sickly glare, now freely shines
On the pure smiles of infant playfulness:                           
No more the shuddering voice of hoarse despair
Peals through the echoing vaults, but soothing notes
Of ivy-fingered winds and gladsome birds
And merriment are resonant around.

The fanes of Fear and Falsehood hear no more                        
The voice that once waked multitudes to war
Thundering thro’ all their aisles: but now respond
To the death dirge of the melancholy wind:
It were a sight of awfulness to see
The works of faith and slavery, so vast,                            
So sumptuous, yet withal so perishing!
Even as the corpse that rests beneath their wall.
A thousand mourners deck the pomp of death
To-day, the breathing marble glows above
To decorate its memory, and tongues                            
Are busy of its life: to-morrow, worms
In silence and in darkness seize their prey.
These ruins soon leave not a wreck behind:
Their elements, wide-scattered o’er the globe,
To happier shapes are moulded, and become               
Ministrant to all blissful impulses:
Thus human things are perfected, and earth,
Even as a child beneath its mother’s love,
Is strengthened in all excellence, and grows
Fairer and nobler with each passing year.                 

Now Time his dusky pennons o’er the scene
Closes in steadfast darkness, and the past
Fades from our charmed sight. My task is done:
Thy lore is learned. Earth’s wonders are thine own,
With all the fear and all the hope they bring.            
My spells are past: the present now recurs.
Ah me! a pathless wilderness remains
Yet unsubdued by man’s reclaiming hand.

Yet, human Spirit, bravely hold thy course,
Let virtue teach thee firmly to pursue                       
The gradual paths of an aspiring change:
For birth and life and death, and that strange state
Before the naked powers that thro’ the world
Wander like winds have found a human home,
All tend to perfect happiness, and urge                      
The restless wheels of being on their way,
Whose flashing spokes, instinct with infinite life,
Bicker and burn to gain their destined goal:
For birth but wakes the universal mind
Whose mighty streams might else in silence flow     
Thro’ the vast world, to individual sense
Of outward shows, whose unexperienced shape
New modes of passion to its frame may lend;
Life is its state of action, and the store
Of all events is aggregated there                                 
That variegate the eternal universe;
Death is a gate of dreariness and gloom,
That leads to azure isles and beaming skies
And happy regions of eternal hope.
Therefore, O Spirit! fearlessly bear on:                      
Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk,
Though frosts may blight the freshness of its bloom,
Yet spring’s awakening breath will woo the earth,
To feed with kindliest dews its favourite flower,
That blooms in mossy banks and darksome glens,   
Lighting the green wood with its sunny smile.

Fear not then, Spirit, death’s disrobing hand,
So welcome when the tyrant is awake,
So welcome when the bigot’s hell-torch flares;
‘Tis but the voyage of a darksome hour,                
The transient gulf-dream of a startling sleep.
For what thou art shall perish utterly,
But what is thine may never cease to be;
Death is no foe to virtue: earth has seen
Love’s brightest roses on the scaffold bloom,
Mingling with freedom’s fadeless laurels there,
And presaging the truth of visioned bliss.
Are there not hopes within thee, which this scene
Of linked and gradual being has confirmed?
Hopes that not vainly thou, and living fires   
Of mind as radiant and as pure as thou,
Have shone upon the paths of men–return,
Surpassing Spirit, to that world, where thou
Art destined an eternal war to wage
With tyranny and falsehood, and uproot       
The germs of misery from the human heart.
Thine is the hand whose piety would soothe
The thorny pillow of unhappy crime,
Whose impotence an easy pardon gains,
Watching its wanderings as a friend’s disease:             

Thine is the brow whose mildness would defy
Its fiercest rage, and brave its sternest will,
When fenced by power and master of the world.
Thou art sincere and good; of resolute mind,
Free from heart-withering custom’s cold control,       
Of passion lofty, pure and unsubdued.
Earth’s pride and meanness could not vanquish thee,
And therefore art thou worthy of the boon
Which thou hast now received: virtue shall keep
Thy footsteps in the path that thou hast trod,             
And many days of beaming hope shall bless
Thy spotless life of sweet and sacred love.
Go, happy one, and give that bosom joy
Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch
Light, life and rapture from thy smile.                          

The Daemon called its winged ministers.
Speechless with bliss the Spirit mounts the car,
That rolled beside the crystal battlement,
Bending her beamy eyes in thankfulness.
The burning wheels inflame                                          
The steep descent of Heaven’s untrodden way.
Fast and far the chariot flew:
The mighty globes that rolled
Around the gate of the Eternal Fane
Lessened by slow degrees, and soon appeared              
Such tiny twinklers as the planet orbs
That ministering on the solar power
With borrowed light pursued their narrower way.
Earth floated then below:
The chariot paused a moment;                                        
The Spirit then descended:
And from the earth departing
The shadows with swift wings
Speeded like thought upon the light of Heaven.

The Body and the Soul united then,                                  
A gentle start convulsed Ianthe’s frame:
Her veiny eyelids quietly unclosed;
Moveless awhile the dark blue orbs remained:
She looked around in wonder and beheld
Henry, who kneeled in silence by her couch,                         
Watching her sleep with looks of speechless love,
And the bright beaming stars
That through the casement shone.

Fare Well

by Walter de la Mare

When I lie where shades of darkness
Shall no more assail mine eyes,
Nor the rain make lamentation
When the wind sighs;
How will fare the world whose wonder
Was the very proof of me?
Memory fades, must the remembered
Perishing be?

Oh, when this my dust surrenders
Hand, foot, lip, to dust again,
May these loved and loving faces
Please other men!
May the rustling harvest hedgerow
Still the Traveller’s Joy entwine,
And as happy children gather
Posies once mine.

Look thy last on all things lovely,
Every hour. Let no night
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
Till to delight
Thou have paid thy utmost blessing;
Since that all things thou wouldst praise
Beauty took from those who loved them
In other days.

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER II

by Eleanor H. Porter
AUNT HANNAH GETS A LETTER
In the cozy living-room at Hillside, Billy Neilson’s
pretty home on Corey Hill, Billy herself sat
writing at the desk.  Her pen had just traced the
date, “October twenty-fifth,” when Mrs. Stetson
entered with a letter in her hand.

“Writing, my dear?  Then don’t let me disturb
you.”  She turned as if to go.

Billy dropped her pen, sprang to her feet, flew
to the little woman’s side and whirled her half
across the room.

“There!” she exclaimed, as she plumped the
breathless and scandalized Aunt Hannah into the
biggest easy chair.  “I feel better.  I just had to
let off steam some way.  It’s so lovely you came
in just when you did!”

“Indeed! I–I’m not so sure of that,” stammered
the lady, dropping the letter into her lap,
and patting with agitated fingers her cap, her
curls, the two shawls about her shoulders, and the
lace at her throat.  “My grief and conscience,
Billy!  Wors’t you _ever_ grow up?”

“Hope not,” purred Billy cheerfully, dropping
herself on to a low hassock at Aunt Hannah’s feet.

“But, my dear, you–you’re engaged!”

Billy bubbled into a chuckling laugh.

“As if I didn’t know that, when I’ve just written
a dozen notes to announce it!  And, oh, Aunt
Hannah, such a time as I’ve had, telling what a
dear Bertram is, and how I love, love, _love_ him,
and what beautiful eyes he has, and _such_ a nose,
and–”

“Billy!”  Aunt Hannah was sitting erect in
pale horror.

“Eh?” Billy’s eyes were roguish.

“You didn’t write that in those notes!”

“Write it?  Oh, no!  That’s only what I _wanted_
to write,” chuckled Billy.  “What I really did
write was as staid and proper as–here, let me
show you,” she broke off, springing to her feet and
running over to her desk.  “There! this is about
what I wrote to them all,” she finished, whipping
a note out of one of the unsealed envelopes on the
desk and spreading it open before Aunt Hannah’s
suspicious eyes.

“Hm-m; that is very good–for you,” admitted
the lady.

“Well, I like that!–after all my stern self-
control and self-sacrifice to keep out all those
things I _wanted_ to write,” bridled Billy.  “Besides,
they’d have been ever so much more interesting
reading than these will be,” she pouted, as
she took the note from her companion’s hand.

“I don’t doubt it,” observed Aunt Hannah,
dryly.

Billy laughed, and tossed the note back on the
desk.

“I’m writing to Belle Calderwell, now,” she
announced musingly, dropping herself again on
the hassock.  “I suppose she’ll tell Hugh.”

“Poor boy!  He’ll be disappointed.”

Billy sighed, but she uptilted her chin a little.

“He ought not to be.  I told him long, long ago,
the very first time, that–that I couldn’t.”

“I know, dear; but–they don’t always
understand.”  Aunt Hannah sighed in sympathy
with the far-away Hugh Calderwell, as she looked
down at the bright young face near her.

There was a moment’s silence; then Billy gave
a little laugh.

“He _will_ be surprised,” she said.  “He told
me once that Bertram wouldn’t ever care for any
girl except to paint.  To paint, indeed!  As if Bertram
didn’t love me–just _me!_–if he never saw
another tube of paint!”

“I think he does, my dear.”

Again there was silence; then, from Billy’s lips
there came softly:

“Just think; we’ve been engaged almost four
weeks–and to-morrow it’ll be announced.  I’m
so glad I didn’t ever announce the other
two!”

“The other _two!_” cried Aunt Hannah.

Billy laughed.

“Oh, I forgot.  You didn’t know about Cyril.”

“Cyril!”

“Oh, there didn’t anybody know it, either
not even Cyril himself,” dimpled Billy, mischievously.
“I just engaged myself to him in imagination,
you know, to see how I’d like it.  I didn’t
like it.  But it didn’t last, anyhow, very long–
just three weeks, I believe.  Then I broke it off,”
she finished, with unsmiling mouth, but dancing
eyes.

“Billy!” protested Aunt Hannah, feebly.

“But I _am_ glad only the family knew about
my engagement to Uncle William–oh, Aunt
Hannah, you don’t know how good it does seem
to call him `Uncle’ again.  It was always slipping
out, anyhow, all the time we were engaged; and
of course it was awful then.”

“That only goes to prove, my dear, how
entirely unsuitable it was, from the start.”

A bright color flooded Billy’s face.

“I know; but if a girl _will_ think a man is asking
for a wife when all he wants is a daughter, and if
she blandly says `Yes, thank you, I’ll marry you,’
I don’t know what you can expect!”

“You can expect just what you got–misery,
and almost a tragedy,” retorted Aunt Hannah,
severely.

A tender light came into Billy’s eyes.

“Dear Uncle William!  What a jewel he was,
all the way through!  And he’d have marched
straight to the altar, too, with never a flicker of
an eyelid, I know–self-sacrificing martyr that
he was!”

“Martyr!” bristled Aunt Hannah, with
extraordinary violence for her.  “I’m thinking that
term belonged somewhere else.  A month ago,
Billy Neilson, you did not look as if you’d live
out half your days.  But I suppose _you’d_ have
gone to the altar, too, with never a flicker of an
eyelid!”

“But I thought I had to,” protested Billy.
“I couldn’t grieve Uncle William so, after Mrs.
Hartwell had said how he–he wanted me.”

Aunt Hannah’s lips grew stern at the corners.

“There are times when–when I think it
would be wiser if Mrs. Kate Hartwell would attend
to her own affairs!” Aunt Hannah’s voice
fairly shook with wrath.

“Why-Aunt Hannah!” reproved Billy in
mischievous horror.  “I’m shocked at you!”

Aunt Hannah flushed miserably.

“There, there, child, forget I said it.  I ought
not to have said it, of course,” she murmured agitatedly.

Billy laughed.

“You should have heard what Uncle William
said!  But never mind.  We all found out the mistake
before it was too late, and everything is
lovely now, even to Cyril and Marie.  Did you
ever see anything so beatifically happy as that
couple are?  Bertram says he hasn’t heard a dirge
from Cyril’s rooms for three weeks; and that if
anybody else played the kind of music he’s been
playing, it would be just common garden ragtime!”

“Music!  Oh, my grief and conscience!  That
makes me think, Billy.  If I’m not actually
forgetting what I came in here for,” cried Aunt
Hannah, fumbling in the folds of her dress for the
letter that had slipped from her lap.  “I’ve had
word from a young niece.  She’s going to study
music in Boston.”

“A niece?”

“Well, not really, you know.  She calls me
`Aunt,’ just as you and the Henshaw boys do.
But I really am related to _her_, for her mother and
I are third cousins, while it was my husband who
was distantly related to the Henshaw family.”

“What’s her name?”

“ `Mary Jane Arkwright.’  Where is that
letter?”

“Here it is, on the floor,” reported Billy.
“Were you going to read it to me?” she asked,
as she picked it up.

“Yes–if you don’t mind.”

“I’d love to hear it.”

“Then I’ll read it.  It–it rather annoys me
in some ways.  I thought the whole family understood
that I wasn’t living by myself any longer
–that I was living with you.  I’m sure I thought
I wrote them that, long ago.  But this sounds
almost as if they didn’t understand it–at least,
as if this girl didn’t.”

“How old is she?”

“I don’t know; but she must be some old, to
be coming here to Boston to study music, alone
–singing, I think she said.”

“You don’t remember her, then?”

Aunt Hannah frowned and paused, the letter
half withdrawn from its envelope.

“No–but that isn’t strange.  They live West.
I haven’t seen any of them for years.  I know there
are several children–and I suppose I’ve been
told their names.  I know there’s a boy–the
eldest, I think–who is quite a singer, and there’s
a girl who paints, I believe; but I don’t seem to
remember a `Mary Jane.’ ”

“Never mind!  Suppose we let Mary Jane speak
for herself,” suggested Billy, dropping her chin
into the small pink cup of her hand, and settling
herself to listen.

“Very well,” sighed Aunt Hannah; and she
opened the letter and began to read.
“DEAR AUNT HANNAH:–This is to tell you
that I’m coming to Boston to study singing in
the school for Grand Opera, and I’m planning to
look you up.  Do you object?  I said to a friend
the other day that I’d half a mind to write to Aunt
Hannah and beg a home with her; and my friend
retorted:  `Why don’t you, Mary Jane?’  But
that, of course, I should not think of doing.

“But I know I shall be lonesome, Aunt Hannah,
and I hope you’ll let me see you once in a
while, anyway.  I plan now to come next week
–I’ve already got as far as New York, as you see
by the address–and I shall hope to see you
soon.

“All the family would send love, I know.
                         “M. J. ARKWRIGHT.”
“Grand Opera!  Oh, how perfectly lovely,”
cried Billy.

“Yes, but Billy, do you think she is expecting
me to invite her to make her home with me?  I
shall have to write and explain that I can’t–
if she does, of course.”

Billy frowned and hesitated.

“Why, it sounded–a little–that way;
but–”  Suddenly her face cleared.  “Aunt
Hannah, I’ve thought of the very thing.  We _will_
take her!”

“Oh, Billy, I couldn’t think of letting you do
that,” demurred Aunt Hannah.  “You’re very
kind–but, oh, no; not that!”

“Why not?  I think it would be lovely; and
we can just as well as not.  After Marie is married
in December, she can have that room.  Until
then she can have the little blue room next to me.”

“But–but–we don’t know anything about
her.”

“We know she’s your niece, and she’s lonesome;
and we know she’s musical.  I shall love her for
every one of those things.  Of course we’ll take
her!”

“But–I don’t know anything about her age.”

“All the more reason why she should be looked
out for, then,” retorted Billy, promptly.  “Why,
Aunt Hannah, just as if you didn’t want to give
this lonesome, unprotected young girl a home!”

“Oh, I do, of course; but–”

“Then it’s all settled,” interposed Billy,
springing to her feet.

“But what if we–we shouldn’t like her?”

“Nonsense!  What if she shouldn’t like us?”
laughed Billy.  “However, if you’d feel better,
just ask her to come and stay with us a month.
We shall keep her all right, afterwards.  See if we
don’t!”

Slowly Aunt Hannah got to her feet.

“Very well, dear.  I’ll write, of course, as you
tell me to; and it’s lovely of you to do it.  Now
I’ll leave you to your letters.  I’ve hindered you
far too long, as it is.”

“You’ve rested me,” declared Billy, flinging
wide her arms.

Aunt Hannah, fearing a second dizzying whirl
impelled by those same young arms, drew her
shawls about her shoulders and backed hastily
toward the hall door.

Billy laughed.

“Oh, I won’t again–to-day,” she promised
merrily.  Then, as the lady reached the arched
doorway:  “Tell Mary Jane to let us know the
day and train and we’ll meet her.  Oh, and Aunt
Hannah, tell her to wear a pink–a white pink;
and tell her we will, too,” she finished gayly.

A Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe
  In visions of the dark night
    I have dreamed of joy departed–
  But a waking dream of life and light
    Hath left me broken-hearted.

  Ah! what is not a dream by day
    To him whose eyes are cast
  On things around him with a ray
    Turned back upon the past?

  That holy dream–that holy dream,
    While all the world were chiding,
  Hath cheered me as a lovely beam,
    A lonely spirit guiding.

  What though that light, thro’ storm and night,
    So trembled from afar–
  What could there be more purely bright
    In Truth’s day star?

by Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Age

by Walter de la Mare
This ugly old crone–
Every beauty she had
When a maid, when a maid.
Her beautiful eyes,
Too youthful, too wise,
Seemed ever to come
To so lightless a home,
Cold and dull as a stone.
And her cheeks–who would guess
Cheeks cadaverous as this
Once with colours were gay
As the flower on its spray?
Who would ever believe
Aught could bring one to grieve
So much as to make
Lips bent for love’s sake
So thin and so grey?
O Youth, come away!
As she asks in her lone,
This old, desolate crone.
She loves us no more;
She is too old to care
For the charms that of yore
Made her body so fair.
Past repining, past care,
She lives but to bear
One or two fleeting years
Earth’s indifference: her tears
Have lost now their heat;
Her hands and her feet
Now shake but to be
Shed as leaves from a tree;
And her poor heart beats on
Like a sea–the storm gone.

Rouge Gagne

by Emily Dickinson

‘T is so much joy! ‘T is so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I
Have ventured all upon a throw;
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so
This side the victory!

Life is but life, and death but death!
Bliss is but bliss, and breath but breath!
And if, indeed, I fail,
At least to know the worst is sweet.
Defeat means nothing but defeat,
No drearier can prevail!

And if I gain, — oh, gun at sea,
Oh, bells that in the steeples be,
At first repeat it slow!
For heaven is a different thing
Conjectured, and waked sudden in,
And might o’erwhelm me so!

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