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THE TWO ANGELS.
Two angels-one of life, and one of death,—
Alike their features and their robes of white;
Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppressed, "Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray The place where thy belovèd are at rest!" And he who wore the crown of asphodels,
Descending at my door, began to knock ; And my soul sank within me, as in wells
The waters sink before an earthquake's shock. I recognised the nameless agony
The terror and the tremor and the pain That oft before had filled and haunted me,
And now returned with threefold strength again. The door I opened to my heavenly guest,
And listened, for I thought I heard God's voice; And, knowing whatsoe'er He sent was best, Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice.
Then with a smile that filled the house with light,
'Twas at thy door, O friend, and not at mine,
Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom
A shadow on those features fair and thin; And softly, from that hushed and darkened room, Two angels issued, where but one went in. All is of God! If He but wave His hand,
The mists collect, the rains fall thick and loud; Till, with a smile of light on sea and land,
Lo! He looks back from the departing cloud. Angels of life and death alike are His;
Without His leave they pass no threshold o'er ; Who then would wish or dare, believing this, Against His messengers to shut the door?
THERE is no flock, however watched and tended, But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
The air is full of farewells to the dying,
The heart of Rachel for her children crying,
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
But oftentimes celestial benedictions
We see but dimly through the mists and vapours; Amid these earthly damps.
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers,
May be heaven's distant lamps.
There is no death! What seems so is transition ;
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
She is not dead,—the child of our affection,—
Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
Day after day we think what she is doing
Year after year, her tender steps pursuing,
Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken
Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken, May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her;
In our embraces we again enfold her,
But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,
And beautiful with all the soul's expansion
And though at times, impetuous with emotion,
The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean, That cannot be at rest,
We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
By the Fireside.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
BORN at Field Place, Sussex. The eldest son of a baronet. Educated at Eton and Oxford. Was expelled from the university for holding atheistical opinions, and disowned by his family. In 1818 he left England, and took up his residence in Italy, where he associated much with Byron, Leigh Hunt, Keats, etc. Whilst crossing the gulf of Spezzia in July, 1822, the boat was overtaken by a tremendous squall and Shelley was drowned. The body was washed on shore, and burnt by some friends, including Lord Byron and Leigh Hunt, and the remains were conveyed to Rome, where they were buried close to those of his friend and brother-poet, Keats.
Shelley's principal works are, Queen Mab; Alsator; The Revolt of Islam; Prometheus Unbound; The Cenci; The Cloud; The Skylark; The Sensitive Plant, etc.
THE SENSITIVE PLANT (AN EXTRACT FROM).
A SENSITIVE plant in a garden grew,
And the spring arose on the garden fair,
But none ever trembled and panted with bliss,
The snowdrop, and then the violet,
Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall,
And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue,
And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
And the wand-like lily, which lifted
And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuber-rose,
I BRING fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
I bear light shades for the leaves when laid
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,