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“Beware the pine-tree's withered branch !
Beware the awful avalanche !”
This was the peasant's last good-night.
A voice replied, far up the height,

Excelsior !
At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

Excelsior!
A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping, in his hand of ice,
That banner with the strange device,

Excelsior!
There in the twilight cold and grey,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,

Excelsior!

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THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH. UNDER a spreading chestnut tree

The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he,

With large and sinewy hands ;
And the muscles of his brawny arms

Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp and black and long,

His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,

He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,

For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,

You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,

With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,

When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school

Look in at the open door ;
They love to see the flaming forge,

And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly

Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,

And sits among his boys ;
He hears the parson pray and preach,

He hears his daughter's voice
Singing in the village choir,

And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice,

Singing in Paradise !
He needs must think of her once more,

How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes

A tear out of his eyes. Toiling-rejoicing—sorrowing,

Onward through life he goes ; Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night's repose. Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught ! Thus at the flaming forge of life

Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought !

THE BRIDGE.
I STOOD on the bridge at midnight

As the clocks were striking the hour,
And the moon rose o'er the city,

Behind the dark church tower. I saw her bright reflection

In the waters under me, Like a golden goblet falling

And sinking into the sea. And far in the hazy distance

Of that lovely night in June, The blaze of the flaming furnace

Gleamed redder than the moon. Among the long, black rafters,

The wavering shadows lay, And the current that came from the ocean

Seemed to lift and bear them away ; As, sweeping and eddying through them,

Rose the belated tide;
And, streaming into the moonlight,

The sea-weed floated wide.
And like those waters rushing

Among the wooden piers,
A flood of thoughts came o'er me,

That filled my eyes with tears.
How often, oh how often,

In the days that had gone by,
I had stood on that bridge at midnight,

And gazed on that wave and sky!
How often, oh how often,

I had wished that the ebbing tide Would bear me away on its bosom

O’er the ocean wild and wide !

For my heart was hot and restless,

And my life was full of care, And the burden laid upon me

Seemed greater than I could bear.
But now it has fallen from me,

It is buried in the sea;
And only the sorrow of others

Throws its shadow over me.
Yet whenever I cross the river,

On its bridge with wooden piers, Like the odour of brine from the ocean

Comes the thought of other years.
And I think how many thousands

Of care-encumbered men,
Each bearing his burden of sorrow,

Have crossed the bridge since then. I see the long procession

Still passing to and fro,
The young heart hot and restless,

And the old subdued and slow !
And for ever and for ever,

As long as the river flows,
As long as the heart has passions,

As long as life has woes ;
The moon and its broken reflection

And its shadows shall appear,
As the symbol of love in heaven,

And its wavering image here.

THE LIGHT OF STARS. The night is come, but not too soon ;

And sinking silently,
All silently, the little moon

Drops down behind the sky.

There is no light in earth or heaven,

But the cold light of stars ;
And the first watch of night is given

To the red planet Mars.
Is it the tender star of love ?

The star of love and dreams ?
Oh, no! from that blue tent above,

A hero's armour gleams.
And earnest thoughts within me rise,

When I behold afar,
Suspended in the evening skies,

The shield of that red star.
O star of strength, I see thee stand

And smile upon my pain ;
Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,

And I am strong again.
Within

my

breast there is no light,
But the cold light of stars ;
I give the first watch of the night

To the red planet Mars.
The star of the unconquered will,

He rises in my breast,
Serene, and resolute, and still,

And calm, and self-possessed. And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,

That readest this brief psalm,
As one by one thy hopes depart,

Be resolute and calm.
Oh, fear not in a world like this,

And thou shalt know ere long,
Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.

Voices of the Night.

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