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It left my full soul, like the wing of a dove,
THE OLD MAID. Why sits she thus in solitude ? her heart
Seems melting in her eye's delicious blue, And as it heaves, her ripe lips lie apart,
As if to let its heavy throbbings through; In her dark eye a depth of softness swells,
Deeper than that her careless girlhood wore And her cheek crimsons with the hue that tells
The rich, fair fruit is ripen'd to the core. It is her thirtieth birthday! with a sigh
Her soul hath turn'd from youth's luxuriant bowers, And her heart taken up the last sweet tie
That measured out its links of golden hours ! She feels her inmost soul within her stir
With thoughts too wild and passionate to speak;
Translates itself in silence on her cheek.
Once lightly sprang within her beaming track;
And yet she does not wish to wander back! No! she but loves in loneliness to think
On pleasures past, though never more to be: Hope links her to the future,-but the link
That binds her to the past is memory! From her lone path she never turns aside,
Though passionate worshippers before her fall, Like some pure planet in her lonely pride,
She seems to soar and beam above them all! Not that her heart is cold !-emotions new
And fresh as flowers are with her heart-strings knit: And sweetly mournful pleasures wander through
Her virgin soul, and softly ruffle it.
To all that makes life beautiful and fair;
Of her soft bosom-cell, and cluster there; Yet life is not to her what it hath been:
Her soul hath learn'd to look beyond its gloss,
And now she hovers like a star between
Her deeds of love,-her Saviour on the cross !
Though she hath ofttimes drain'd its bitter cup,
And eyes whose lovely lids are lifted up!
Her bosom yet will, birdlike, find its mate,
Within that spirit-realm perpetuate.
Soft sighs, for raptures it hath ne'er enjoy'd,-
With wild and passionate thoughts the craving void.
Without a mate for the pure, lonely heart
Never to find its lovely counterpart !
ON SEEING AN INFANT SLEEPING UPON ITS MOTHER'S BOSOM.
It lay upon its mother's breast, a thing
Bright as a dew-drop when it first descends,
Where every tint of rainbow-beauty blends;
Half closed upon them, like bright waters shone,
In the warm bosom that it nestled on.
There was a beam in that young mother's eye
Lit by the feelings that she could not speak,
Stirr'd the bright tresses on her infant's cheek,
Soft kisses o'er its red and smiling lips,
Ere the young murmuring bee their honey sips.
Of burning stars, that tremulously clear
Of falling waters fell upon the ear;
Encircled by the blue waves of the deep,
Around the stars when they their vigils keep.
My heart grew softer as I gazed upon
That youthful mother as she soothed to rest
For 'tis a sight that angel ones above
May stoop to gaze on from their bowers of bliss,
Is cradled, in a sinful world like this.
THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.
Thomas BUCHANAN READ was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1822. At the age of fourteen he removed to Cincinnati, where, from visiting the studio of Clevinger, he became ambitious to be a sculptor. He had made considerable proficiency in the art, when his master left for Europe. But the love of the beautiful was too strong in him to be repressed by such an occurrence, and he resolved to be a painter; and so successful was he in his first efforts that he concluded to go to the East, where he could have better advantages; and accordingly, in 1841 he removed to Boston, where he remained five years in the practice of his profession.
Up to this time Mr. Read, though he had frequently written fugitive verses, had published but little; but now he began to contribute to the leading periodicals, and soon became a favorite with readers. Most of his best poems appeared first in “Graham's Magazine." In 1846, he removed to Philadelphia, and in 1850 sailed for Europe, and spent a year in Italy, pursuing his studies as an artist. On his return home, he visited England, where he was engaged to paint a number of portraits, and, while doing so, published a volume of poems, which attracted much notice, and was warmly commended by the London press or The Closing Scene, the “North British Review" said, “It is an addition to the permanent stock of poetry in the English language."
In 1852, Mr. Read returned home, and passed the following winter in CincinDati. The next year he went abroad the second time, accompanied by his family, and settled in Florence, enjoying the intercourse of a delightful society of artists and men of letters; and subsequently spent two years in Rome. In 1858, he returned to Philadelphia with some of the richest specimens of art,--the creations of his own genius,-all of which were engaged at prices that show that our countrymen know how to appreciate and reward true merit.
Mr. Read's first collection of Poems was printed in Boston in 1847. In 1848 he published, in Philadelphia, Lays and Ballads, and in 1853 appeared The Pilgrims of the Great St. Bernard,-a prose romance. His more recent publications are Sylvia; or the Last Shepherd,-an Eclogue : and other Poeme; The House by the Sea,-a Poem ; and The New Pastoral... The last consists of a series of sketches of rustic and domestic life, mostly of primitive simplicity, and so truthful as to be not less valuable as history than attractive as poetry.
1 Beautiful editions of the last three poems have been published by Parry & McMillan. His Selection from the “Female Poets of America, with Biographical Notices," should be noticed,-an elegant book published by E. H. Butler & Co., which has reached the seventh edition.
THE CLOSING SCENE.
Within this sober realm of leafless trees,
The russet year inhaled the dreamy air, Like some tann'd reaper in his hour of ease,
When all the fields are lying brown and bare. The gray barns, looking from their hazy hills
O'er the dim waters widening in the vales,
On the dull thunder of alternate flails.
The hills seem'd farther, and the streams sang low; As in a dream, the distant woodman hew'd
His winter log with many a muffled blow. The embattled forests, erewhile arm'd in gold,
Their banners bright with every martial hue,
Withdrawn afar in Time's remotest blue.
The dove scarce heard his sighing mate's complaint; And, like a star slow drowning in the light,
The village church-vane seem'd to pale and faint. The sentinel cock upon the hill-side crew,
Crew thrice, and all was stiller than before, Silent till some replying wanderer blew
His alien horn, and then was heard no more. Where erst the jay within the elm's tall crest
Made garrulous trouble round the unfledged young; And where the oriole hung her swaying nest
By every light wind like a censer swung;
Where sang the noisy masons of the eves,
The busy swallows circling ever near,
An early harvest and a plenteous year;
Shook the sweet slumber from its wings at morn,
All now was songless, empty, and forlorn.
Alone from out the stubble piped the quail,
And croak'd the crow through all the dreary gloom; Alone the pheasant, drumming in the vale,
Made echo to the distant cottage-loom.
The spiders wove their thin shrouds night by night; The thistle-down, the only ghost of flowers,
Sail'd slowly by-pass'd noiseless out of sight.
Amid all this,-in this most cheerless air,
And where the woodbine sheds upon the porch Its crimson leaves, as if the year stood there,
Firing the floor with his inverted torch, Amid all this, the centre of the scene,
The white-hair'd matron, with monotonous tread, Plied her swift wheel, and with her joyless mien
Sat like a Fate, and watch'd the flying thread. She had known Sorrow. He had walk'd with her,
Oft supp'd, and broke with her the ashen crust, And in the dead leaves still she heard the stir
Of his black mantle trailing in the dust. While yet her cheek was bright with summer bloom,
Her country summon'd, and she gave her all,
He gave the swords to rest upon the wall.
And struck for liberty the dying blow;
Fell 'mid the ranks of the invading foe.
Like the low murmurs of a hive at noon;
Breathed through her lips a sad and tremulous tune.
At last the thread was snapp'd, her head was bow'd :
Life droop'd the distaff through his hands serene; And loving neighbors smoothed her careful shroud,
While Death and Winter closed the autumn scene.
THE DESERTED ROAD.
Ancient road, that wind'st deserted
Through the level of the vale,
Like a stream without a sail ;
And, as in the light of dreams,
Like thy whitely tented teams.
As in youth's departed morn ;
And the driver's bugle-horn,
Filling buckets at the wells,
And their orchestras of bells.