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And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line, That but half of it was hers, and one half of it was mine.
Again, and once again, did I repeat the song: "Nay," said I, "more than half to the damsel must belong,
For she looked with such a look, and she spoke with such a tone,
That I almost received her heart into my own."
THE LITTLE BLACK BOY. - Blake.
My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but, O, my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black, as if bereaved of light.
My mother taught me underneath a tree,
And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kisséd me,
And, pointing to the east, began to say:
"Look on the rising sun, there God does live,
And gives his light, and gives his heat away;
And flowers, and trees, and beasts, and men, receive
Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.
"And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.
"For when our souls have learnt the heat to bear, The clouds will vanish, we shall hear his voice, Saying, Come from the grove, my love and care, And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.""
Thus did and kisséd me; mother my And thus say I to little English boy — When I from black and he from white cloud free, And round the tent of God like lambs we joy;
I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear
To lean with joy upon our Father's knee;
And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,
And be like him, and he will then love me.
THE SPARTAN BOY.-Miss Lamb.
WHEN I the memory repeat
Of the heroic actions great,
Which, in contempt of pain and death,
Were done by men who drew their breath
In ages past, I find no deed
That can in fortitude exceed
The noble boy, in Sparta bred,
Who in the temple ministered.
By the sacrifice he stands,
The lighted incense in his hands;
Through the smoking censer's lid
Dropped a burning coal, which slid
Into his sleeve, and passed in
Between the folds, e'en to the skin.
Dire was the pain which then he proved,
But not for this his sleeve he moved,
Or would the scorching ember shake
Out from the folds, lest it should make
Any confusion, or excite
Disturbance at the sacred rite,
But close he kept the burning coal,
Till it eat itself a hole
In his flesh. The standers-by
Saw no sign, and heard no cry.
All this he did in noble scorn,
And for he was a Spartan born.
Young student who this story readest,
And with the same thy thoughts now feedest
Thy weaker nerves might thee forbid
To do the thing the Spartan did;
Thy feebler heart could not sustain
Such dire extremity of pain.
But in this story thou mayst see
useful prove to thee.
By this example thou wilt find,
That to the ingenuous mind
Shame can greater anguish bring
Than the body's suffering;
That pain is not the worst of ills, -
Not when it the body kills;
That in fair religion's cause
For thy country, or the laws,
When occasion dire shall offer,
'T is reproachful not to suffer.
MY BIRTHDAY.-Miss Lamb.
A DOZEN years since, in this house what commotion,
What bustle, what stir, and what joyful ado!
Every soul in the family at my devotion,
When into the world I came, twelve years ago.
I've been told by my friends (if they do not belie me)
My promise was such as no parent would scorn;
The wise and the aged who prophesied by me
Augured nothing but good of me when I was born.
But vain are the hopes which are formed by a parent,
Fallacious the marks which in infancy shine;
My frail constitution soon made it apparent
I nourished within me the seeds of decline.
On a sick-bed I lay, through the flesh my bones started, My grief-wasted frame to a skeleton fell;
My physicians, foreboding, took leave and departed, And they wished me dead now who wished me well.
Life and soul were kept in by a mother's assistance, Who struggled with faith, and prevailed 'gainst despair;
Like an angel she watched o'er the lamp of existence, And never would leave while a glimmer was there.
By her care I'm alive now; but what retribution
Can I for a life twice bestowed thus confer?
Were I to be silent, each year's revolution
Proclaims each new birthday is owing to her.
The chance-rooted tree that by way-sides is planted, Where no friendly hand will watch o'er its young shoots,
Has less blame if, in autumn, when produce is wanted, Enriched by small culture, it put forth small fruits.
But that which with labor in hotbeds is reared,
Secured by nice art from the dews and the rains,
Unsound at the root may with justice be feared,
If it pay not with interest the tiller his pains.
LATELY an equipage I overtook,
And helped to lift it o'er a narrow brook.
No horse it had, except one boy, who drew
His sister out in it the fields to view.
O happy town-bred girl, in fine chaise going,
For the first time, to see the green grass growing!
This was the end and purport of the ride,
I learned, as, walking slowly by their side,
I heard their conversation. Often she,
"Brother, is this the country that I see?"
The bricks were smoking, and the ground was broke ;
There were no signs of verdure when she spoke.
He, as the well-informed delight in chiding
The ignorant, her questions still deriding,
To his good judgment modestly she yields,
Till, brick-kilns past, they reached the open fields.
Then, as with rapturous wonder round she gazes
On the green grass, the buttercups, and daisies,
"This is the country sure enough!" she cries;
'Is 't not a charming place?" The boy replies,
"We'll go no further."
No," she says,
No finer place than this can be indeed."
I left them gathering flowers, the happiest pair
That ever London sent to breathe the fine fresh air.
GENTLE RIVER. - Percy's Reliques.
GENTLE river, gentle river,
Lo! thy streams are stained with gore;
Many a brave and noble captain
Floats along thy willowed shore.