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THE TWO ANGELS. Two angels—one of life, and one of death,
Passed o'er the village as the morning broke; The dawn was on their faces; and beneath,
The sombre houses capped with plumes of smoke. Their attitude and aspect were the same;
Alike their features and their robes of white; And one was crowned with amaranth, as with fame,
And one with asphodels like flakes of light. I saw them pause on their celestial way :
Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppressed, “ Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray
The place where thy beloved 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,
“ My errand is not death, but life,” he said; And, ere I answered, passing out of sight,
On his celestial embassy he sped. 'Twas at thy door, O friend, and not at mine,
The angel with the amaranthine wreath, Pausing, descended ; and with voice divine
Whispered a word that had a sound of death.
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?
But one dead lamb is there !
But has one vacant chair !
And mournings for the dead;
Will not be comforted !
Not from the ground arise,
Assume this dark disguise.
Amid these earthly damps.
May be heaven's distant lamps.
This life of mortal breath
Whose portal we call death.
She is not dead,- the child of our affection,
But gone unto that school
And Christ Himself doth rule.
By guardian angels led,
She lives, whom we call dead.
In those bright realms of air ;
Behold her grown more fair.
The bond which nature gives,
May reach her where she lives.
For when with raptures wild
She will not be a child;
Clothed with celestial grace ;
Shall we behold her face.
And anguish long suppressed,
That cannot be at rest, —
We may not wholly stay;
By the Fireside.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
(1792-1822.) 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,
gaze on their
Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall,
eyes in the stream's recess,
From the seas and the streams;
In their noon-day dreams;
The sweet birds every one,
As she dances about the sun.