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He cut it short, did the great god Pan

(How tall it stood in the river !), Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,

Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor dry empty thing

In holes, as he sate by the river.

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• This is the way,' laughed the great god Pan

(Laughed while he sate by the river), The only way, since gods began To make sweet music, they could succeed.' Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,

He blew in power by the river.

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Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!

Piercing sweet by the river !
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!

The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly 35

Came back to dream on the river.

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Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,

To laugh as he sits by the river, Making a poet out of a man :

The true gods sigh for the cost and pain,For the reed which grows nevermore again As a reed with the reeds in the river.

E. B. BROWNING,

315

THE SLAVE'S DREAM

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Beside the ungathered rice he lay,

His sickle in his hand
His breast was bare, his matted hair

Was buried in the sand.
Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,

He saw his Native Land.

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Wide through the landscape of his dreams

The lordly Niger flowed ;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain

Once more a king he strode ;
And heard the tinkling caravans

Descend the mountain-road.
He saw once more his dark-eyed queen

Among her children stand;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,

They held him by the hand !
A tear burst from the sleeper's lids

And fell into the sand.

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And then at furious speed he rode

Along the Niger's bank;
His bridle-reins were golden chains,

And, with a martial clank,
At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel

Smiting his stallion's flank. Before him, like a blood-red flag,

The bright flamingoes flew ; From morn till night he followed their flight,

O’er plains where the tamarind grew, Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,

And the ocean rose to view.

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At night he heard the lion roar,

And the hyena scream,
And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds

Beside some hidden stream;
And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums, 35

Through the triumph of his dream.

The forests, with their myriad tongues,

Shouted of liberty ;
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,

With a voice so wild and free,
That he started in his sleep and smiled

At their tempestuous glee.

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He did not feel the driver's whip,

Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
And his lifeless body lay

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A worn-out fetter, that the soul
Had broken and thrown away !

H. W. LONGFELLOW.

316

THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD

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This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling,

Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms ; But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing

Startles the villages with strange alarms. Ah! what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary,

When the death-angel touches those swift keys ! What loud lament and dismal Miserere

Will mingle with their awful symphonies ! I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus,

The cries of agony, the endless groan, Which, through the ages that have gone before us,

In long reverberations reach our own. On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer, Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's

song, And loud, amid the universal clamour,

O’er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong. I hear the Florentine, who from his palace

Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din, And Aztec priests upon their teocallis

Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin ; The tumult of each sacked and burning village ;

The shout that every prayer for mercy drowns ; The soldiers' revels in the midst of pillage ;

The wail of famine in beleaguered towns ;

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The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder,

The rattling musketry, the clashing blade ;
And ever and anon, in tones of thunder,

The diapason of the cannonade.
Is it, О man, with such discordant noises,

With such accursed instruments as these,
Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices,

And jarrest the celestial harmonies ? Were half the power that fills the world with terror, Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and

courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error,

There were no need of arsenals or forts : The warrior's name would be a name abhorred !

And every nation that should lift again Its hand against a brother, on its forehead

Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain ! Down the dark future, through long generations,

The echoing sounds grow fainter and then cease ; And like a bell, with solemn, sweet vibrations,

I hear once more the voice of Christ say, “Peace!' Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals 45

The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies ! But beautiful as songs of the immortals, The holy melodies of love arise.

H. W. LONGFELLOW.

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317

CHILDREN
Come to me, O ye children !

For I hear you at your play,
And the questions that perplexed me

Have vanished quite away.
Ye open the eastern windows,

That look towards the sun,
Where thoughts are singing swallows,

And the brooks of morning run.

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In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,

In your thoughts the brooklet's flow;
But in mine is the wind of Autumn,

And the first fall of the snow.
Ah ! what would the world be to us

If the children were no more ?
We should dread the desert behind us

Worse than the dark before.
What the leaves are to the forest,

With light and air for food,
Ere their sweet and tender juices

Have been hardened into wood,
That to the world are children ;

Through them it feels the glow
Of a brighter and sunnier climate

Than reaches the trunks below
Come to me, O ye children !

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And whisper in my ear
What the birds and the winds are singing

In your sunny atmosphere.
For what are all our contrivings,
And the wisdom of our books,

30 When compared with your caresses,

And the gladness of your looks ?
Ye are better than all the ballads

That ever were sung or said ;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.

H. W. LONGFELLOW.

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318 I do not love thee -no ! I do not love thee ! And yet when thou art absent I am sad ;

And envy even the bright blue sky above thee, Whose quiet stars may see thee and be glad.

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