Изображения страниц

Make no deep scrutiny Into her mutiny, Rash and undutiful ; Past all dishonor, Death has left on her Only the beautiful. Still, for all slips of hers, One of Eve's family, Wipe those poor lips of hers, Oozing so clammily. Loop up her tresses Escaped from the comb, — Her fair auburn tresses, Whilst wonderment guesses Where was her home?

Who was her father?
Who was her mother?
Had she a sister?
Had she a brother ?
Or was there a dearer one
Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other ?

And he pointed to the laden board and to the

Christmas tree, Then up to the cold sky, and said, “Will Gretchen

come with me?" The poor

child felt her pulses fail, she felt her

eyeballs swim, And a ringing sound was in her ears, like her

dead mother's hymn : And she folded both her thin white hands and

turned from that bright board, And from the golden gists, and said, “With thee,

with thee, O Lord !” The chilly winter morning breaks up in the dull

skies On the city wrapt in vapor, on the spot where

Gretchen lies.

In her scant and tattered garments, with her back

against the wall, She sitteth cold and rigid, she answers to no call. They have listed her up fearfully, they shuddered

as they said, It was a bitter, bitter night! the child is frozen

dead.” The angels sang their greeting for one more

redeemed from sin ; Men said, “ It was a bitter night; would no one

let her in ?" And they shivered as they spoke of her, and

sighed. They could not see How much of happiness there was after that



"Drowned ! drowned I"- HAMLET.
ONE more unfortunate,
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate,
Gone to her death !

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care !
Fashioned so slenderly,
Young, and so fair !
Look at her garments
Clinging like cerements,
Whilst the wave constantly
Drips from her clothing ;
Take her up instantly,
Loving, not loathing !
Touch her not scornfully!
Think of her mournfully,
Gently and humanly,
Not of the stains of her ;
All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly.

Alas ! for the rarity Of Christian charity Under the sun ! O, it was pitiful ! Near a whole city full, Home she had none. Sisterly, brotherly, Fatherly, motherly Feelings had changed, Love, by harsh evidence, Thrown from its eminence ; Even God's providence Seeming estranged. Where the lamps quiver So far in the river, With many a light From window and casement, From garret to basement, She stood, with amazement, Houseless by night. The bleak wind of March Made her tremble and iver; But not the dark arch, Or the black flowing river ; Mad from life's history, Glad to death's mystery, Swift to be hurled Anywhere, anywhere Out of the world ! In she plunged boldly,– No matter how coldly

It lights up the face and it sparkles the eye ;
And even the dogs, with a bark and a bound,
Snap at the crystals that eddy around.
The town, is alive, and its heart in a glow
To welcome the coming of beautiful snow.

The rough river ran
Over the brink of it !
Picture it,

think of it!
Dissolute man !
Lave in it, drink of it,
Then, if you can!
Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care !
Fashioned so slenderly,
Young, and so fair !
Ere her limbs, frigidly,
Stiffen too rigidly,
Decently, kindly,
Smooth and compose them ;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly !
Dreadfully staring
Through muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Last look of despairing
Fixed on futurity.
Perishing gloomily,
Spurred by contumely,
Cold inhumanity,
Burning insanity,
Into her rest!
Cross her hands humbly,
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast !
Owning her weakness,
Her evil behavior,
And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour !

How the wild crowd goes swaying along,
Hailing each other with humor and song !
How the gay sledges like meteors flash by,
Bright for a moment, then lost to the eye.


Dashing they go
Over the crest of the beautiful snow :
Snow so pure when it falls from the sky,
To be trampled in mud by the crowd rushing hy;
Tobetrampled and tracked by the thousands of feet
Till it blends with the horrible filth in the street.

Once I was pure as the snow, but I fell :
Fell, like the snow-flakes, from heaven — to hell :
Fell, to be tramped as the filth of the street :
Fell, to be scoffed, to be spit on, and beat.


Dreading to die,
Selling my soul to whoever would buy,
Dealing in shame for a morsel of bread,
Hating the living and fearing the dead.
Merciful God! have I fallen so low?
And yet I was once like this beautiful snow !


Once I was fair as the beautiful snow,
With an eye like its crystals, a heart like its glow;
Once I was loved for my innocent grace,
Flattered and sought for the charın of my face.


Sisters all,
God, and myself I have lost by my fali.
The veriest wretch that goes shivering by
Will take a wide sweer, lest I wander too nigh;
For of all that is on or about me, I know
There is nothing that's pure but the beautifulsnow.

O THE snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and the earth below!
Over the house-tops, over the street,
Over the heads of the people you meet,


Skimming along.
Beautiful snow! it can do nothing wrong.
Flying to kiss a fair lady's cheek;
Clinging to lips in a frolicsome freak.
Beautiful snow, from the heavens above,
Pure as an angel and fickle as love !
O the snow, the beautiful snow !
How the flakes gather and laugh as they go !
Whirling about in its maddening fun,
It plays in its glee with every one.


Hurrying by,

How strange it should be that this beautiful snow Should fall on a sinner with nowhere to go ! How strange it would be, when the night comes

again, If the snow and the ice struck my desperate brain !


Dying alone,
Too wicked for prayer, too weak for my moan
To be heard in the crash of the crazy town,
Gone mad in its joy at the snow's coming down ;
To lie and to die in my terrible woe,
With a bed and a shroud of the beautiful snow !


[blocks in formation]

That pavement, damp and cold,

No smiling courtiers tread; One silent woman stands, Listing with meagre hands

A dying head.

No mingling voices sound, —

An infant wail alone ; A sob suppressed, — again That short deep gasp, and then

The parting groan.

You bumpkins! who stare at your brother con

veyed, Behold what respect to a cloddy is paid ! And be joyful to think, when by death you're

laid low, You've a chance to the grave like a gemman to go!

Rattle his bones over the stones!

He's only a pauper whom nobody oirns !
But a truce to this strain ; for my soul it is sad,
To think that a heart in humanity clad
Should make, like the brutes, such a desolate end,
And depart from the light without leaving a friend!

Bcar soft his bones over the stones !
Though a pauper, he's one whom his Maker ye

owns /

O change ! 0 wondrous change !

Burst are the prison bars, This moment there so low, So agonized, and now

Beyond the stars.


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord,

Wha struts, and stares, and a' that,
Though hundreds worship at his word,

He's but a coof for a' that ;
For a' that, and a' that,

His riband, star, and a' that;
The man of independent mind,

He looks and laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,

A marquis, duke, and a' that;
But an honest man 's aboon his might, –

Guid faith, he maunna fa' that !
For a' that, and a' that,

Their dignities, and a' that;
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth,

Are higher ranks than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,

As come it will for a' that,
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,

May bear the gree, and a' that.
For a' that, and a' that,

It's coming yet, for a' that, – When man to man, the warld o'er,

Shall brothers be for a' that!



A Good that never satisfies the mind,
A beauty fading like the April flowers,
A sweet with floods of gall that runs combined,
A pleasure passing ere in thought made ours,
An honor that more fickle is than wind,
A glory at opinion's frown that lowers,

treasury which bankrupt time devours,
A knowledge than grave ignorance more blind,
A vain delight our equals to command,
A style of greatness, in effect a dream,
A swelling thought of holding sea and land,
A servile lot, decked with a pompous name,
Are the strange ends we toil for here below,
Till wisest death make us our errors know.



What is the existence of man's life
But open war, or slumbered strife ?
Where sickness to his sense presents
The combat of the elements ;
And never feels a perfect peace,
Till death's cold hand signs his release.
It is a storm where the hot blood
Outvies in rage the boiling flood;

One word, ere yet the evening ends, –

Let's close it with a parting rhyme ;
And pledge a hand to all young friends,

As fits the merry Christmas time;
On life's wide scene you, too, have parts

That fate erelong shall bid you play ; Good night !- with honest, gentle hearts

A kindly greeting go alway! Good night !-I'd say the griefs, the joys,

Just hinted in this mimic page, The triumphs and defeats of boys,

Are but repeated in our age ;

[blocks in formation]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »