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The flat brick walls look cold and bleak,
Her bare feet to the sidewalk freeze;
Yet dares she not a shelter seek,
Though faint with hunger and disease.
The sharp storm cuts her forehead bare, And, piercing through her garments thin, Beats on her shrunken breast, and there Makes colder the cold heart within.
She lingers where a ruddy glow
Streams outward through an open shutter, Giving more bitterness to woe,
More loneliness to desertion utter.
One half the cold she had not felt,
Until she saw this gush of light
Spread warmly forth, and seem to melt
Its slow way through the deadening night.
She hears a woman's voice within,
Singing sweet words her childhood knew, And years of misery and sin
Furl off, and leave her heaven blue.
Her freezing heart, like one who sinks
Outwearied in the drifting snow,
Drowses to deadly sleep and thinks
No longer of its hopeless woe:
Old fields, and clear blue summer days,
Old meadows, green with grass and trees,
That shimmer through the trembling haze
And whiten in the western breeze,-
Old faces, all the friendly past,
Rises within her heart again,
And sunshine from her childhood cast
Makes summer of the icy rain.
Enhaloed by a mild, warm glow,
From all humanity apart,
She hears old footsteps wandering slow
Through the lone chambers of her heart.
Outside the porch before the door,
Her cheek upon the cold hard stone,
She lies, no longer foul and poor,
No longer dreary and alone.
Next morning something heavily
Against the opening door did weigh,
And there, from sin and sorrow free,
A woman on the threshold lay.
A smile upon the wan lips told
That she had found a calm release,
And that, from out the want and cold,
The had borne her soul in peace.
For, whom the heart of man shuts out,
Straightway the heart of God takes in,
And fences them all round about
With silence mid the world's loud din.
And one of his great charities
Is music, and it doth not scorn
To close the lids upon the eyes
Of the polluted and forlorn;
Far was she from her childhood's home,
Farther in guilt had wander'd thence,
Yet thither it had bid her come
To die in maiden innocence.
From BYRON's Don Juan. This poem contains many of Lord Byron's best passages, and yet it cannot be introduced into families. Its finest passages will, therefore, be very acceptable in a collection such as this.
Ir stood embosom'd in a happy valley,
Crown'd by high woodlands, where the druid oak
Stood like Caractacus in act to rally
His host, with broad arms 'gainst the thunder-stroke;
And from beneath his boughs were seen to sally
The dappled foresters-as day awoke,
The branching stag swept down with all his herd,
To quaff a brook which murmur'd like a bird.
Before the mansion lay a lucid lake
Broad as transparent, deep, and freshly fed
By a river, which its soften'd way did take
In currents through the calmer water spread
Around the wild fowl nestled in the brake
And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed :
The woods sloped downwards to its brink, and stood
With their green faces fix'd upon the flood.
Its outlet dash'd into a deep cascade,
Sparkling with foam, until again subsiding
Its shriller echoes-like an infant made
Quiet-sank into softer ripples, gliding
Into a rivulet; and thus allay'd,
Pursued its course, now gleaming, and now hiding Its windings through the woods; now clear, now blue, According as the skies their shadows threw.
A glorious remnant of the Gothic pile,
(While yet the church was Rome's), stood half apart In a grand arch, which once screen'd many an aisle; These last had disappear'd-a loss to art:
The first yet frown'd superbly o'er the soil,
And kindled feelings in the roughest heart,
Which mourn'd the power of time's or tempest's march,
In gazing on that venerable arch.
Within a niche, nigh to its pinnacle,
Twelve saints had once stood sanctified in stone:
But these had fallen, not when the friars fell,
But in the war which struck Charles from the throne,
When each house was a fortalice-as tell
The annals of full many a line undone,
The gallant cavaliers, who fought in vain
For those who knew not to resign or reign.
But in a higher niche, alone, but crown'd,
The Virgin Mother of the God-born child,
With her Son in her blessed arms, look'd round,
Spared by some chance when all beside was spoil'd;
She made the earth below seem holy ground.
This may be superstition, weak or wild,
But even the faintest relics of a shrine,
Of any worship, wake some thoughts divine.
A mighty window, hollow in the centre,
Shorn of its glass, of thousand colourings,
Through which the deepen'd glories once could enter,
Streaming from off the sun, like seraph's wings,
Now yawns all desolate: now loud, now fainter,
The gale sweeps through its fretwork, and oft sings
The owl his anthem, where the silenced quire
Lie with their hallelujahs quench'd like fire.
But in the noontide of the moon, and when
The wind is winged from one point of heaven,
There moans a strange unearthly sound, which then
Is musical-a dying accent driven
Through the huge arch, which soars and sinks again.
Some deem it but the distant echo given
Back to the night wind by the waterfall,
And harmonized by the old choral wall:
Others that some original shape or form,
Shaped by decay, perchance, hath given the power (Though less than that of Memnon's statue, warm In Egypt's rays, to harp at a fix'd hour)
To this grey ruin, with a voice to charm.
Sad, but serene, it sweeps o'er tree or tower:
The cause I know not, nor can solve; but such
The fact:-I've heard it,—once perhaps too much.
Amidst the court a gothic fountain play'd,
Symmetrical, but deck'd with carvings quaint-
Strange faces, like to men in masquerade,
And here perhaps a monster, there a saint:
The spring gush'd through grim mouths, of granite made,
And sparkled into basins, where it spent
Its little torrent in a thousand bubbles,
Like man's vain glories, and his vainer troubles.
By THOMAS MOORE.
Go, let me weep! there's bliss in tears,
When he who sheds them inly feels
Some lingering stain of early years
Effaced by every drop that steals.
Leave me to sigh o'er hours that flew,
More idly than the summer's wind,
And while they pass'd, a fragrance threw,
But left no trace of sweets behind.
The fruitless showers of worldly woe,
Fall dark to earth, and never rise,
While tears that from repentance flow,
In bright exhalement reach the skies.
THE world is still deceived with ornament.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being season'd with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple, but assumes
Some mark of virtue on its outward parts.
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars,
Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk!
And these assume but valour's excrement,
To render them redoubted. Look on beauty,
And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it:
So are those crisped, snaky, golden locks,
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness often known
To be the dowry of a second head;
The skull that bred them, in the sepulchre.
Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest.