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water Lilies, emblems of perfect peace and Heavenly purity; unsubstantial indeed is the “Marien Faden”-not to be gathered by mortal hands, but festooning round the lovely Lilies, that blossom best in solitudes, and which fancy invests with unearthly attributes.
Not many new birds arrive in May, but those already at home are heard each day of warm sunshine; the nightingale trills out her rich sad notes in the bushed night air, they are tremulous and low and saintly soft, but the bird of night has changeful notes, and this delightful chorister hath rapturous and variable melodies. The song of the blackbird and the thrush steep the senses in pure deliciousness, as the mellow flutings softly rise between us and the azure skies; while the lark mounts on high through liquid air, with clear songs of Praise which seem to scale the Heavens, as the warbler out of sight has perhaps ascended to the gates of Paradise, there to listen to echoes of the glorious Eternal Hymn, before again descending to earth.
“Dear vision, ever in my sight!
To thee my dreams fly home by night,
- pilgrim, though thou canst not see,
C. A. M. W.
VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS.
(ROBERT II. A.D. 997—1031.)
COME, O HOLY SPIRIT, come,
Dart Thy lustre from the height:
Come, Thou heart's true light. 1 “The loveliest, for however not the grandest, such we call it, of all the hymns in the whole circle of Latin sacred poetry has a king for its author.
“Sismondi brings him very vividly before us in all the beauty of his character, and also in all his evident unfitness, a man of gentleness and peace, for contending with the men of iron by whom he was surrounded."— Trench,
Sweet refreshment, sweetest guest,
Peerless Comforter below!
Balm in grief and woe.
Inwardly to us impart ;
Man's poor sinful heart.
On the dry pour down the dew,
Fainting strength renew.
Let Thy sevenfold grace be given :
W. R. W.
It is wonderful how, as life passes, one part of the Bible and another connect themselves with the sights and incidents of daily experience, so that the words bring back the scene, and the scene the words for ever after ; especially perhaps, when the soul is weary, grieved, or anxious, does some aspect of nature, some outward dealing with visible things, become, as it were, a parable set forth before our very eyes. It happened to the writer to be one of a party which started from an old Italian city one bright March morning, for another ancient town, whose tower-crowned walls and frescoed churches rise far from rail or inn; one of its charms is perhaps, the long drive by which it must be reached, through country rather drear and bare, but still diversified by many a crowded village or grey fortress frowning from its deserted height; past many a leafless copse, where early hepaticas and anemones peep out to the sun, and many a brown bare vineyard, with little promise of its autumn luxuriance. After a while conversation flagged, and thoughts were at liberty to wander far and wide, only to be caught and led back again by some sudden effect of light and shade, some striking combination of distant, grey hills with the sparsely grouped pines, or the ruined buildings of the immediate foreground, and at last by a sudden glitter, a sparkle of light among the naked vines at the road-side. What could it be? The early morning dew would long ago have evaporated in that brilliant sunshine, and yet every branch has its little pendant, full and round, each tip its drop-it must be the sap-and every branch is bent and tied downwards that it may drain and let fall those diamond drops; the husbandman had passed that way, these were the fruitful branches, and “he purgeth them,” yea, of their very life-blood, “that they may bring forth more fruit.” It was S. Joseph's day, a great festa in those parts, the campagna was all solitary and deserted, the churches open, bells ringing, and village streets full of picturesque groups of lounging peasants ; did any of those who had used the pruning knife, or tied the restraining band think of, or remember, the parable they had left behind in the weeping vineyard on the hill-side ?
And so San Gemignano was reached, with its bare, tall towers, and its narrow, mediæval streets, and the church in whose apse the still glowing frescoes of four hundred years ago show forth the life of S. Augustine : where Benozzo Gozzoli has depicted the gigantic S. Sebastian, his robes spread out to protect the cowering citizens beneath from the plague bolts sent forth by the Almighty, and where, in sculptured marble shrine of purest beauty, Benedetto da Majano keeps alive the
memory of an obscure local saint, and so thoughts are carried back through frescoes and sculpture to the deeds and sufferings of far-off centuries. But beyond all the “ things of beauty" marshalled on that sunny day, from blue hepaticas in the budding copse to chiselled marble in the grey old church, stand forth the brown vines and their rainbow holding drops, for theirs it was to touch the beart with comfort, and to link themselves to the tenderest association; through a long line of enduring and bringing forth fruit, to that other garden, also in spring time, where also the husbandman might have passed with his knife that day, and where the great Teacher, Himself the True Vine, Whose “goodly branches” should soon fill the whole land, looked on those clear drops, sparkling in the light of the Paschal moon and said, “Every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
" THROUGH MUCH TRIBULATION.”
A TALE FOR ASCENSIONTIDE.
“Keep Thou my feet, I do not care to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me."
The afternoon sun was streaming through the lime trees, and lighting up with a golden glow a very pretty room nicely furnished with taste and elegance. At a large bay window, gazing out into the garden, and apparently lost in thought, knelt a girl. No one who looked at her would have called her beautiful, yet there was something so attractive in Mabel Graham's expression, that she seldom passed unnoticed. The charm of her face lay in the eyes which had an unusual depth and earnestness. She remained in the same position at the open window for some time, when a church bell commenced ringing; she then rose and left the room, and in a few minutes entered the drawing-room where her mother and sister were sitting.
Ella,” said she, "are you coming to evensong ?”
No, Mabel, not to-day; if you see Grace, ask her if she can give me any lilies for to-morrow, I have not nearly enough for the font.”
" Very well,” said Mabel as she left the room by an open window and walked slowly through the garden, looking regretfully at every shrub and tree, and opening a gate she passed into a lane which led by a very few steps into the churchyard.
It was the last week of the Grahams' residence at Deepdene, the only home which the girls had ever known, and associated with the memory of their father who had been laid to rest three years before, and also full of happy recollections of past days when their only brother who was in India, had during his long vacations from school and college been their constant playfellow and companion. When Mr. Graham died, his widow and children were left in most comfortable circumstances, and no thought was ever entertained of their leaving Deepdene, and Charlie had departed to India, with the prospect of returning in three years to the old home. But scarcely six months after his leaving England, the bank in which the greater part of Mrs. Graham's fortune had been placed failed, causing the greatest distress to hundreds in tbat part of England, and utter ruin to some. After her affairs had
been examined, Mrs. Graham found that an income of £250 a year was all that remained to her and her daughters to live upon. It was settled that they should immediately leave their house, let it, and reside in furnished lodgings in some economical place; their carriage, horses, and much valuable plate were sold, and everything arranged for their leaving the old home at once.
A tenant had been found for the Grange, and it was then the Tuesday before Ascension Day. On the following Friday Mrs. Graham and Ella were to go to Monkshaven, a quiet watering place some fifty miles off, but Mabel had quite a different destination.
When the two girls realized their altered circumstances, they at once decided that one of them must try and do something to earn money. What was £250 a year to them whose income bad numbered some thousands ? their mother was an invalid and had always been accustomed to every luxury, and the girls felt their hearts fail when they thought of the privations she would have to endure, and then the question arose, which should leave home ? Mabel knew from the first, it must be herself, not Ella. How could Ella who had always been so pretty, so clever, and made so much of, bear the position of a governess or dependent? besides, how would their mother ever be reconciled to the idea ? With herself it was different; and for the first time in her life Mabel pondered with satisfaction that she had never been thought so much of as Ella. Formerly it had fretted her sometimes, for who, if
, they have ever so sweet a temper, can bear with patience, always to be thought a mere nobody ? and yet to how many characters is not this discipline of home training just what they need to lead them on in that road to perfection, to which all our earthly training should ever be tending, till we can enter into the spirit of good old George Herbert, and feel “Thou camest not to thy place by accident, it is the very place God meant for thee.”
Mabel's education though very carefully attended to, was not at all the sort of training to fit her for a governess, and she knew this herself, and was far too honest and conscientious to attempt what she felt herself unequal to perform. After some little time Mabel heard through Mr. Leslie, the Vicar of Deepdene, of a situation which seemed likely in
every way to suit her.
A lady whose only daughter was blind, was looking out for a young person who might act as a companion and friend to her daughter, in place of the governess who was leaving them. When inquiries had been duly