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SARAH HELEN WHITMAN.
RS. SARAH HELEN WHITMAN was born in Providence, R. I., in 1803, and died there, June 27, 1878. She was the daughter of Nicholas Power. She was married to John Whitman, a lawyer, of Boston, Mass., in 1828. She lived in Boston until her husband died, in 1833, when she returned to Providence. There she devoted herself to literature. In 1848 she became conditionally engaged to Edgar A. Poe, but she broke the engagement. They remained friends. She contributed essays, critical sketches and poems to magazines for many years. In 1853 she published a colleciion of her works entitled, "Hours of Life, and Other Poems." In 1860 she published a volume entitled "Edger A. Poe and His Critics," in which she defended him from harsh aspersions. She was the joint author with her sister, Miss Anna Marsh Power, of "Fairy Ballads," "The Golden Ball," "The Sleeping Beauty" and "Cinderella" (1867). After her death a complete collection of her poems was published. H. A. V.
A STILL DAY IN AUTUMN.
I LOVE to wander through the woodlands hoary,
And, like a dream of beauty, glides away.
How through each loved, familiar path she lingers,
Kindling the faint stars of the hazel, shining To light the gloom of Autumn's mouldering halls;
With hoary plumes the clematis entwining,
Where, o'er the rock, her withered garland falls.
Warm lights are on the sleepy uplands waning
Beneath dark clouds along the horizon rolled, Till the slant sunbeams, through their fringes raining,
Bathe all the hills in melancholy gold.
The moist winds breathe of crispèd leaves and flowers,
In the damp hollows of the woodland sown, Mingling the freshness of autumnal showers
With spicy airs from cedarn alleys blown.
Beside the brook and on the umbered meadow, Where yellow fern-tufts fleck the faded ground, With folded lids beneath their palmy shadow,
The gentian nods, in dewy slumbers bound.
Upon those soft, fringed lids the bee sits brooding, Like a fond lover loath to say farewell;
Or, with shut wings, through silken folds intruding, Creeps near her heart his drowsy tale to tell.
The little birds upon the hill-side lonely
Flit noiselessly along from spray to spray, Silent as a sweet, wandering thought, that only Shows its bright wings and softly glides away.
The scentless flowers, in the warm sunlight dreaming,
Forget to breathe their fullness of delight; And through the tranced woods soft airs are streaming
Still as the dew-fall of the summer night.
So, in my heart, a sweet, unwonted feeling
Stirs, like the wind in ocean's hollow shell, Through all its secret chambers sadly stealing, Yet finds no words its mystic charm to tell.
THE LAST FLOWERS.
"The undying voice of that dead time, With its interminable chime, Rings on my spirit like a knell."
Dost thou remember that Autumnal day
A trance of holy sadness seemed to lull
The charmed earth and circumambient air, And the low murmur of the leaves seemed full Of a resigned and passionless despair.
Though the warm breath of summer lingered still In the lone paths where late her footsteps passed, The pallid star-flowers on the purple hill
Sighed dreamily, "We are the last! the last!"
I stood beside thee, and a dream of heaven
Then the bright veil of fantasy was riven,
I dared not listen to thy words, nor turn
To meet the mystic language of thine eyes,
I only felt their power, and in the urn
Of memory, treasured their sweet rhapsodies.
We parted, then, forever,—and the hours
Of that bright day were gathered to the past,— But, through long wintry nights, I heard the flowers, Sigh dreamily, "We are the last! the last!"
SONNETS TO EDGAR ALLEN POE.
WHEN first I looked into thy glorious eyes,
A spirit looked on me with eyes like thine. E'en now, though death has veiled their starry light, And closed their lids in his relentless nightAs some strange dream, remembered in a dream, Again I see, in sleep, their tender beam; Unfading hopes their cloudless azure fill, Heaven deepening within heaven, serene and still.
If thy sad heart, pining for human love,
In its earth solitude grew dark with fear, Lest the high Sun of Heaven itself should prove Powerless to save from that phantasmal sphere Wherein thy spirit wandered-if the flowers
That pressed around thy feet, seemed but to bloom
In lone Gethsemanes, through starless hours,
To lift its burden of remorseful pain,—
WHILE the dull Fates sit nodding at their loom,
Earth's long, long dream of martyrdom and pain;
Is this all? And mole-eyed "Science," gloating over bones The skulls of monkeys and the age of stones, Blinks at the golden lamps that light the hall Of dusty death, and answers:
"It is all."
There's a flower that grows by the greenwood tree,
Like a pure hope nursed beneath sorrow's wing,
It wreathes no brow in the festal hall;
But it dwells in the depths of the shadowy wood,
-The Trailing Arbutus.
Ere youth with its auroral blooms
Not all in vain the vision of your youth, The apocalypse of beauty and of love,
The stag-like heart of hope. Life's mystic dream The soul shall yet interpret; to our prayer
The Isis veil be lifted. -A Hollow of the Hills.
ORN in Carmarthen in 1833. Mr. Lewis Morris was educated first at Cowbridge and Sherborne schools, and subsequently at Jesus College, Oxford. A learned scholar, a diligent student, he early attained the coveted honor of being placed in the first class in classics in the First Public Examination, in 1853. Two years later he was again placed in the first class in classics at the Final Examination. In 1858 he was awarded the Chancellor's Prize for the best English Essay. In the same year he took his degree of M. A., and in 1861 he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn, obtaining at that period a Certificate of Honor of the First Class. From this time forward till the year 1880, we find him practicing chiefly as a Conveyancing Counsel. In this year he was appointed on the Departmental Committee charged by the government to inquire into intermediate and higher education in Walesa post for which, by his deep and detailed knowledge of the educational deficiencies and requirements of that picturesque country, he was eminenlty qualified to lend very material and considerable assistance. Mr. Morris is, further, an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Honorary Secretary of the University College of Wales, a Knight of the Order of the Saviour of Greece, a Justice of the Peace for the County of Carmarthenshire, and Vice-Chairman of the Political Committee of the Reform Club. It was during the later years of his connection with the bar that Mr. Morris found time to set about the first of those classic contributions to poetic literature that have won him favor throughout the length and breadth of the land. Between the years 1871 and 1874 appeared three volumes of "Songs of Two Worlds," now in their thirteenth edition. "The Epic of Hades," stamps beyond all dispute its author's genius, belongs to a somewhat later period, and has already passed into its twenty-third edition. This was followed, in 1879, by "Gwen, a Drama in Monologue," and "The Ode of Life," both in their seventh edition. In 1883 came "Songs Unsung," in 1886, "Syria," a powerful drama of the Byzantine period, written for Miss Anderson, but, owing to the departure of that lady for America, not yet acted; and in 1887, "Songs of Britain," comprising Welsh legands of great beauty, which may one day become famous. All these, with the exception of the two last-named, were published anonymously as the productions of "A New Writer," and have only, within a comparatively recent period, made their appearance with the signature of their author. F. A. H. E.
DEAR LITTLE HAND.
DEAR little hand that clasps my own,
To the poor strength of after-life-
Dear little eyes which smile on mine
Dear little voice, whose broken speech
All eloquent utterance can transcend; Sweet childish wisdom strong to reach A holier deep than love or friend; Dear little voice!
Dear little life! my care to keep
From every spot and stain of sin; Sweet soul foredoomed, for joy or pain, To struggle and-which? to fail or win? Dread mystical life!
THE TREASURE OF HOPE.
O FAIR bird, singing in the woods, To the rising and the setting sun, Does ever any throb of pain
Thrill through thee ere thy song be done:
Because the summer fleets so fast;
Because the autumn fades so soon; Because the deadly winter treads
So closely on the steps of June?
O sweet maid, opening like a rose
In love's mysterious, honeyed air, Dost think sometimes the day will come
When thou shalt be no longer fair: When love will leave thee and pass on
To younger and to brighter eyes; And thou shalt live unloved, alone,
A dull life, only dowered with sighs?
O brave youth, panting for the fight,
To conquer wrong and win thee fame, Dost see thyself grown old and spent,
And thine a still unhonored name: When all thy hopes have come to naught,
And all thy fair schemes droop and pine And wrong still lifts her hydra heads
To fall to stonger arms than thine?