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Triumphal arches gleaming swell

His breast with thoughts of boundless sway : What recked the Roman what befell A paltry province far away, In the solemn midnight

Centuries ago ! Within that province far away

Went plodding home a weary boor : A streak of light before him lay,

Fall’n through a half-shut stable door Across his path. He passed-for naught

Told what was going on within ; How keen the stars ! his only thought ; The air how calm and cold and thin, In the solemn midnight

Centuries ago !

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O strange indifference !low and high

Drowsed over common joys and cares : The earth was still—but knew not why ;

The world was listening-unawares ;
How calm a moment may precede

One that shall thrill the world for ever !
To that still moment none would heed,
Man's doom was linked no more to sever
In the solemn midnight

Centuries ago !

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It is the calm and solemn night!

A thousand bells ring out, and throw Their joyous peals abroad, and smite

The darkness, charmed and holy now! The night that erst no name had worn,

To it a happy name is given ; For in that stable lay new-born The peaceful Prince of Earth and Heaven, În the solemn midnight Centuries ago.

A. DOMETT.

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338
The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn ;
Morning's at seven ;

The hill-side 's dew-pearled ;
The lark's on the wing ;
The snail 's on the thorn :
God's in his heaven
All's right with the world !

R. BROWNING,

339
Give her but a least excuse to love me !

When—where-
How can this arm establish her above me,

If fortune fixed her as my lady there,
There already, to eternally reprove me?

(Hist!—said Kate the queen ; But 'Oh '—cried the maiden, binding her tresses,

'Tis only a page that carols unseen, Crumbling your hounds their messes ! ') Is she wronged ?-To the rescue of her honour, 10

My heart ! Is she poor?—What costs it to be styled a donor ?

Merely an earth to cleave, a sea to part.
But that fortune should have thrust all this upon

her !
( Nay, list !'-bade Kate the queen ;

, !
And still cried the maiden, binding her tresses,

'Tis only a page that carols unseen, Fitting your hawks their jesses ! ')

R. BROWNING, 340 THE LOST LEADER Just for a handful of silver he left us,

Just for a riband to stick in his coatFound the one gift of which fortune bereft us,

Lost all the others she lets us devote;

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They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,

So much was theirs who so little allowed : How all our copper had gone for his service ! Rags—were they purple, his heart had been

proud ! Wethathad loved himso, followed him,honoured him,

Lived in his mild and magnificent eye, Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,

Made him our pattern to live and to die ! Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us, Burns, Shelley, were with us,-they watch from

their graves ! He alone breaks from the van and the freemen,

He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves ! 16

We shall march prospering, -not thro' his presence;

Songs may inspirit us, -not from his lyre ; Deeds will be done, while he boasts his quiescence,

Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire : Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,

Onetask more declined, one more footpath untrod, One more devils’-triumph and sorrow for angels,

One wrong more to man, one more insult to God! Life's night begins : let him never come back to us !

There would be doubt, hesitation, and pain, 26 Forced praise on our part—the glimmer of twilight,

Never glad confident morning again ! Best fight on well, for we taught him,-strike

gallantly, Menace our heart ere we master his own ; Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us, Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne !

R. BROWNING.

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341 HOME-THOUGHTS, FROM ABROAD Oh, to be in England now that April's there, And whoever wakes in England sees, some morn

ing, unaware,

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That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough

In England-now!

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And after April, when May follows, And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows ! Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge

Leans to the field and scatters on the clover Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edgeThat's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice

.; over, Lest you should think he never could recapture

The first fine careless rapture ! And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, All will be gay when noontide wakes anew 16 The buttercups, the little children's dower -Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower !

R. BROWNING.

342

HOME-THOUGHTS, FROM THE SEA Nobly, nobly Cape Saint Vincent to the North-West

died away ; Sunset ran, one glorious blood-red, reeking into

Cadiz Bay; Bluish mid the burning water, full in face Trafalgar

lay ; In the dimmest North-East distance, dawned

Gibraltar grand and grey ; · Here and here did England help me : how can I

help England ?'-say, Whoso turns as I, this evening, turn to God to

praise and.pray, While Jove's planet rises yonder, silent over Africa.

R. BROWNING.

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MISCONCEPTIONS
This is a spray the Bird clung to,

Making it blossom with pleasure,
Ere the high tree-top she sprung to,

Fit for her nest and her treasure.

Oh, what a hope beyond measure Was the poor spray's, which the flying feet hungto,So to be singled out, built in, and sung to !

This is a heart the Queen leant on,

Thrilled in a minute erratic,
Ere the true bosom she bent on,

Meet for love's regal dalmatic.

Oh, what a fancy ecstatic Was the poor heart's, ere the wanderer went on--Love to be saved for it, proffered to, spent on !

R. BROWNING.

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A WOMAN'S LAST WORD
Let's contend no more, Love,

Strive nor weep :
All be as before, Love,

-Only sleep!
What so wild as words are ?

I and thou
In debate, as birds are,

Hawk on bough!
See the creature stalking

While we speak !
Hush and hide the talking,

Cheek on cheek!
What so false as truth is,

False to thee ?
Where the serpent's tooth is,

Shun the tree

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