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In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient games of Flowers; In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.
And with child-like, credulous affection,
We behold their tender buds expand ; Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.
THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
I HAVE read, in some old marvellous tale,
Some legend strange and vague, That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague. Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead, There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.
White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
As clouds with clouds embrace.
But, when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer, The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.
Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled ;
The ghastly host was dead.
That strange and mystic scroll,
Beleaguer the human soul.
In Fancy's misty light,
Portentous through the night.
Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
But the rushing of Life's wave.
Entreats the soul to pray,
The shadows sweep away.
The spectral camp is fled ;
Our ghastly fears are dead.
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING
Yes, the Year is growing old,
And his eye is pale and bleared !
Solemnly and slow;
A sound of woe!
Through woods and mountain passes
The winds, like anthems, roll;
Tell their beads in drops of rain,
All in vain !
There he stands in the foul weather,
The foolish, fond Old Year,
A king,-a king!
Bids the old man rejoice!
Gentle ard low.
To the crimson woods he saith,
To the voice, gentle and low, Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath, “Pray do not mock me so!
Do not laugh at me!”
And now the sweet day is dead;
Cold in his arms it lies ;
No mist or stain !
Then, too, the Old Year dieth,
And the forests utter a moan, Like the voice of one who crieth In the wilderness alone,
" Vex not his ghost!”
Then comes with an awful roar,
Gathering and sounding on, The storm wind from Labrador, The wind Euroclydon,
Howl! howll and from the forest
Sweep the red leaves away! Would the sins that thou abhorrest, O Soul, could thus decay,
And be swept away! For there shall come a mightier blast,
There shall be a darker day;
THE SKELETON IN ARMOUR.
[The following ballad was suggested to me while riding on the seashore at Newport. A year or two previous, a skeleton had been dug up at Fall River, clad in broken and corroded armour; and the idea occurred to me of connecting it with the Round Tower at Newport, generally known hitherto as the Old Windmill, though now claimed by the Danes as a work of their early ancestors. Professor Rafn, in the Memoires de la Societe Royal des Antiquaires du Nord, for 1838 1839, says:
"There is no mistaking, in this instance, the style in which the more ancient stone edifices of the North were constructed, the style which belongs to the Roman or ante-Gothic architecture, and which, especially after the time of Charlemagne, diffused itself from Italy over the whole of the west and north of Europe, where it continued to predominate until the close of the twelfth century; that style, which some authors have, from one of its most striking characteristics, called the round arch style, the same which in England is denominated Saxon, and sometimes Norman architecture.
“On the ancient structure in Newport there are no ornaments remaining, which might possibly have served to guide us in assigning the probable date or its erection. That no vestige whatever is found of the pointed arch, nor any approximation to it, is indicative of an earlier, rather than of a later period. From such characteristics as remain, however, we can scarcely form any other inference than one, in which I am persuaded that all, who are familiar with Old-Northern archi. tecture, will concur, that THIS BUILDING WAS ERECTED AT A PERIOD DECIDEDLY NOT LATER THAN THE TWELFTH CENTURY. This remark applies, of course, to the original building only, and not to the alterations that it subsequently received ; for there are several such alterations in the upper part of the building which cannot be mistaken, and which were most likely occasioned by its being adapted in modern times to various uses; for example, as the sub-structure of a windmill, and latterly as a hay magazine. To the same time may be referred the