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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 flame,
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 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,
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?


THERE is no flock, however watched and tended, But one dead lamb is there!

There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
But has one vacant chair!

The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead;

The heart of Rachel for her children crying,
Will not be comforted!

Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,

But oftentimes celestial benedictions
Assume this dark disguise.

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 ;
This life of mortal breath

Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call death.

She is not dead,—the child of our affection,—
But gone unto that school

Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
And Christ Himself doth rule.

In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,

Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
She lives, whom we call dead.

Day after day we think what she is doing
In those bright realms of air;

Year after year, her tender steps pursuing,
Behold her grown more fair.

Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken
The bond which nature gives,

Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken, May reach her where she lives.

Not as a child shall we again behold her;
For when with raptures wild

In our embraces we again enfold her,
She will not be a child;

But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,
Clothed with celestial grace;

And beautiful with all the soul's expansion
Shall we behold her face.

And though at times, impetuous with emotion,
And anguish long suppressed,

The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean, That cannot be at rest,

We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay;

By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
The grief that must have way.

By the Fireside.



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.


A SENSITIVE plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
And closed them beneath the kisses of night.

And the spring arose on the garden fair,
And the Spirit of Love fell everywhere;
And each flower and herb on earth's dark breast,
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

But none ever trembled and panted with bliss,
In the garden, the field, or the wilderness,
Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want,
As the companionless sensitive plant.

The snowdrop, and then the violet,
Arose from the ground with warm rain wet,
And their breath was mixed with fresh odour, sent
From the turf, like the voice and the instrument.

Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall,
And narcissi, the fairest among them all,
Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess,
Till they die of their own sweet loveliness;
And the Naiad-like lily of the vale,
Whom youth makes so fair and passion so pale,
That the light of its tremulous bells is seen
Through their pavilions of tender green;

And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue,
Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew,
Of music so delicate, soft, and intense,
It was felt like an odour within the sense;

And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
Which unveiled the depth of her glowing breast,
Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air
The soul of her beauty and love lay bare;


And the wand-like lily, which lifted
As a Maenad, its moonlight-coloured cup,
Till the fiery star, which is its eye,
Gazed through the clear dew on the tender sky;

And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuber-rose,
The sweetest flower for scent that blows;
And all rare blossoms from every clime
Grew in that garden in perfect prime.


I BRING fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;

I bear light shades for the leaves when laid
In their noon-day dreams;

From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet birds every one,

When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.

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