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An Enigma

by Edgar Allan Poe 
  “Seldom we find,” says Solomon Don Dunce,
      “Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
    Through all the flimsy things we see at once
      As easily as through a Naples bonnet–
      Trash of all trash!–how _can_ a lady don it?
    Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff–
    Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff
      Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it.”
    And, veritably, Sol is right enough.
    The general tuckermanities are arrant
    Bubbles–ephemeral and _so_ transparent–
      But _this is_, now–you may depend upon it–
    Stable, opaque, immortal–all by dint
    Of the dear names that lie concealed within’t.

LITTLE CHARLIE

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

A violet grew by the river-side,
  And gladdened all hearts with its bloom;
While over the fields, on the scented air,
  It breathed a rich perfume.
But the clouds grew dark in the angry sky,
  And its portals were opened wide;
And the heavy rain beat down the flower
  That grew by the river-side.

Not far away in a pleasant home,
  There lived a little boy,
Whose cheerful face and childish grace
  Filled every heart with joy.
He wandered one day to the river’s verge,
  With no one near to save;
And the heart that we loved with a boundless love
  Was stilled in the restless wave.

The sky grew dark to our tearful eyes,
  And we bade farewell to joy;
For our hearts were bound by a sorrowful tie
  To the grave of the little boy.
The birds still sing in the leafy tree
  That shadows the open door;
We heed them not, for we think of the voice
  That we shall hear no more.

We think of him at eventide,
  And gaze on his vacant chair
With a longing heart that will scarce believe
  That Charlie is not there.
We seem to hear his ringing laugh,
  And his bounding step at the door;
But, alas! there comes the sorrowful thought,
  We shall never hear them more!                               

We shall walk sometimes to his little grave,
  In the pleasant summer hours;
We will speak his name in a softened voice,
  And cover his grave with flowers;
We will think of him in his heavenly home,–
  In his heavenly home so fair;
And we will trust with a hopeful trust
  That we shall meet him there.

The Mystery of Pain

by Emily Dickinson

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.

It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.

APPLE-BLOSSOMS

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

I sit in the shadow of apple-boughs,
  In the fragrant orchard close,
And around me floats the scented air,
  With its wave-like tidal flows.
I close my eyes in a dreamy bliss,
  And call no king my peer;
For is not this the rare, sweet time,
  The blossoming time of the year?

I lie on a couch of downy grass,
  With delicate blossoms strewn,
And I feel the throb of Nature’s heart
  Responsive to my own.
Oh, the world is fair, and God is good,
  That maketh life so dear;
For is not this the rare, sweet time,
  The blossoming time of the year?                                 

I can see, through the rifts of the apple-boughs,
  The delicate blue of the sky,                              
And the changing clouds with their marvellous tints
  That drift so lazily by.
And strange, sweet thoughts sing through my brain,
  And Heaven, it seemeth near;
Oh, is it not a rare, sweet time,
  The blossoming time of the year?

To Marie Louise

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Of all who hail thy presence as the morning–
  Of all to whom thine absence is the night–
  The blotting utterly from out high heaven
  The sacred sun–of all who, weeping, bless thee
  Hourly for hope–for life–ah, above all,
  For the resurrection of deep buried faith
  In truth, in virtue, in humanity–
  Of all who, on despair’s unhallowed bed
  Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen
  At thy soft-murmured words, “Let there be light!”
  At thy soft-murmured words that were fulfilled
  In thy seraphic glancing of thine eyes–
  Of all who owe thee most, whose gratitude
  Nearest resembles worship,–oh, remember
  The truest, the most fervently devoted,
  And think that these weak lines are written by him–
  By him who, as he pens them, thrills to think
  His spirit is communing with an angel’s.

Sonnet on Chillon

by Lord Byron

    Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind!
      Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art:
      For there thy habitation is the heart–
    The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
    And when thy sons to fetters are consigned–
      To fetters, and the damp vault’s dayless gloom,
      Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
    And Freedom’s fame finds wings on every wind.
    Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
      And thy sad floor an altar–for ’twas trod,
    Until his very steps have left a trace
      Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
    By Bonnivard!–May none those marks efface!
      For they appeal from tyranny to God.

The Lake

by Edgar Allan Poe
  In spring of youth it was my lot
  To haunt of the wide world a spot
  The which I could not love the less–
  So lovely was the loneliness
  Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
  And the tall pines that towered around.

  But when the Night had thrown her pall
  Upon the spot, as upon all,
  And the mystic wind went by
  Murmuring in melody–
  Then–ah, then, I would awake
  To the terror of the lone lake.

  Yet that terror was not fright,
  But a tremulous delight–
  A feeling not the jewelled mine
  Could teach or bribe me to define–
  Nor Love–although the Love were thine.

  Death was in that poisonous wave,
  And in its gulf a fitting grave
  For him who thence could solace bring
  To his lone imagining–
  Whose solitary soul could make
  An Eden of that dim lake.

To Frances S. Osgood

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Thou wouldst be loved?–then let thy heart
    From its present pathway part not;
  Being everything which now thou art,
    Be nothing which thou art not.
  So with the world thy gentle ways,
    Thy grace, thy more than beauty,
  Shall be an endless theme of praise.
    And love a simple duty.

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER V

by Eleanor H. Porter

MARIE SPEAKS HER MIND
Billy with John and Peggy met Marie Hawthorn
at the station.  “Peggy” was short for
“Pegasus,” and was what Billy always called
her luxurious, seven-seated touring car.

“I simply won’t call it `automobile,’ ” she
had declared when she bought it.  “In the first
place, it takes too long to say it, and in the second
place, I don’t want to add one more to the nineteen
different ways to pronounce it that I hear
all around me every day now.  As for calling it
my `car,’ or my `motor car’–I should expect
to see a Pullman or one of those huge black trucks
before my door, if I ordered it by either of those
names.  Neither will I insult the beautiful thing
by calling it a `machine.’  Its name is Pegasus.
I shall call it `Peggy.’ ”

And “Peggy” she called it.  John sniffed his
disdain, and Billy’s friends made no secret of
their amused tolerance; but, in an astonishingly
short time, half the automobile owners of her
acquaintance were calling their own cars “Peggy”;
and even the dignified John himself was heard to
order “some gasoline for Peggy,” quite as a
matter of course.

When Marie Hawthorn stepped from the train
at the North Station she greeted Billy with
affectionate warmth, though at once her blue eyes
swept the space beyond expectantly and eagerly.

Billy’s lips curved in a mischievous smile.

“No, he didn’t come,” she said.  “He didn’t
want to–a little bit.”

Marie grew actually pale.

“Didn’t _want_ to!” she stammered.

Billy gave her a spasmodic hug.

“Goosey!  No, he didn’t–a _little_ bit; but
he did a great _big_ bit.  As if you didn’t know he
was dying to come, Marie!  But he simply
couldn’t–something about his concert Monday
night.  He told me over the telephone; but
between his joy that you were coming, and his
rage that he couldn’t see you the first minute
you did come, I couldn’t quite make out what was
the trouble.  But he’s coming to dinner to-night,
so he’ll doubtless tell you all about it.”

Marie sighed her relief.

“Oh, that’s all right then.  I was afraid he
was sick–when I didn’t see him.”

Billy laughed softly.

“No, he isn’t sick, Marie; but you needn’t go
away again before the wedding–not to leave
him on my hands.  I wouldn’t have believed
Cyril Henshaw, confirmed old bachelor and
avowed woman-hater, could have acted the part
of a love-sick boy as he has the last week or
two.”

The rose-flush on Marie’s cheek spread to the
roots of her fine yellow hair.

“Billy, dear, he–he didn’t!”

“Marie, dear–he–he did!”

Marie laughed.  She did not say anything,
but the rose-flush deepened as she occupied herself
very busily in getting her trunk-check from
the little hand bag she carried.

Cyril was not mentioned again until the two
girls, veils tied and coats buttoned, were snugly
ensconced in the tonneau, and Peggy’s nose was
turned toward home.  Then Billy asked:

“Have you settled on where you’re going to
live?”

“Not quite.  We’re going to talk of that
to-night; but we _do_ know that we aren’t going
to live at the Strata.”

“Marie!”

Marie stirred uneasily at the obvious
disappointment and reproach in her friend’s voice.

“But, dear, it wouldn’t be wise, I’m sure,”
she argued hastily.  “There will be you and
Bertram–”

“We sha’n't be there for a year, nearly,” cut
in Billy, with swift promptness.  “Besides, I
think it would be lovely–all together.”

Marie smiled, but she shook her head.

“Lovely–but not practical, dear.”

Billy laughed ruefully.

“I know; you’re worrying about those puddings
of yours.  You’re afraid somebody is going to
interfere with your making quite so many as you
want to; and Cyril is worrying for fear there’ll
be somebody else in the circle of his shaded lamp
besides his little Marie with the light on her hair,
and the mending basket by her side.”

“Billy, what are you talking about?”

Billy threw a roguish glance into her friend’s
amazed blue eyes.

“Oh, just a little picture Cyril drew once for
me of what home meant for him: a room with
a table and a shaded lamp, and a little woman
beside it with the light on her hair and a great
basket of sewing by her side.”

Marie’s eyes softened.

“Did he say–that?”

“Yes.  Oh, he declared he shouldn’t want her
to sit under that lamp all the time, of course;
but he hoped she’d like that sort of thing.”

Marie threw a quick glance at the stolid back
of John beyond the two empty seats in front of
them.  Although she knew he could not hear her
words, instinctively she lowered her voice.

“Did you know–then–about–me?” she
asked, with heightened color.

“No, only that there was a girl somewhere
who, he hoped, would sit under the lamp some
day.  And when I asked him if the girl did like
that sort of thing, he said yes, he thought so;
for she had told him once that the things she liked
best of all to do were to mend stockings and
make puddings.  Then I knew, of course, ’twas
you, for I’d heard you say the same thing.  So
I sent him right along out to you in the summer-
house.”

The pink flush on Marie’s face grew to a red
one.  Her blue eyes turned again to John’s broad
back, then drifted to the long, imposing line of
windowed walls and doorways on the right.  The
automobile was passing smoothly along Beacon
Street now with the Public Garden just behind
them on the left.  After a moment Marie turned
to Billy again.

“I’m so glad he wants–just puddings and
stockings,” she began a little breathlessly.  “You
see, for so long I supposed he _wouldn’t_ want anything
but a very brilliant, talented wife who could
play and sing beautifully; a wife he’d be proud
of–like you.”

“Me?  Nonsense!” laughed Billy.  “Cyril
never wanted me, and I never wanted him–only
once for a few minutes, so to speak, when I thought,
I did.  In spite of our music, we aren’t a mite
congenial.  I like people around; he doesn’t.
I like to go to plays; he doesn’t.  He likes rainy
days, and I abhor them.  Mercy!  Life with me
for him would be one long jangling discord, my
love, while with you it’ll be one long sweet song!”

Marie drew a deep breath.  Her eyes were fixed
on a point far ahead up the curveless street.

“I hope it will, indeed!” she breathed.

Not until they were almost home did Billy
say suddenly:

“Oh, did Cyril write you?  A young relative
of Aunt Hannah’s is coming to-morrow to stay
a while at the house.”

“Er–yes, Cyril told me,” admitted Marie.

Billy smiled.

“Didn’t like it, I suppose; eh?” she queried
shrewdly.

“N-no, I’m afraid he didn’t–very well .  He
said she’d be–one more to be around.”

“There, what did I tell you?” dimpled Billy.
“You can see what you’re coming to when you
do get that shaded lamp and the mending basket!”

A moment later, coming in sight of the house,
Billy saw a tall, smooth-shaven man standing on
the porch.  The man lifted his hat and waved it
gayly, baring a slightly bald head to the sun.

“It’s Uncle William–bless his heart!” cried
Billy.  “They’re all coming to dinner, then he
and Aunt Hannah and Bertram and I are going
down to the Hollis Street Theatre and let you and
Cyril have a taste of what that shaded lamp is
going to be.  I hope you won’t be lonesome,”
she finished mischievously, as the car drew up
before the door.

“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.
 

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