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There is no death! The dust we tread
To golden grain or mellow fruit,
The granite rocks disorganize
To feed the hungry rocks they bear;
The forest leaves drink daily life
There is no death! The leaves may fall,
They only wait through the wintry hours,
There is no death! An angel form
He bears our best loved things away,
He leaves our hearts all desolate,
He plucks our fairest, sweetest flowers,
Transplanted into bliss, they now
The bird-like voice, whose joyous tones
Sings now an everlasting song
And where he sees a smile too bright,
He bears it to that world of light
Born unto that undying life,
With joy we welcome them—the same
And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear immortal spirits tread;
Is life—there are no dead.
E. BULWER LYTTON.
[This piece should be carefully studied, special attention being given to the enunciation of the words, referring constantly to the dictionary for their proper pronunciation. Not only is this piece exceedingly humorous, but it will be found highly instructive.]
Some words on language may be well applied,
And take them kindly, though they touch your pride.
Words lead to things; a scale is more precise,—
Coarse speech, bad grammar, swearing, drinking, vice.
Our cold North-easter's icy fetter clips
The native freedom of the Saxon lips;
See the brown peasant of the plastic South,
How all his passions play about his mouth!
With us, the feature that transmits the soul,
A frozen, passive, palsied breathing-hole.
The crampy shackles of the ploughboy's walk
Tie the small muscles, when he strives to talk;
Not all the pumice of the polished town
Can smooth this roughness of the barnyard down;
Rich, honored, titled, he betrays his race
By this one mark,—he's awkward in the face;—
Nature's rude impress, long before he knew
The sunny street that holds the sifted few.
It can't be helped, though, if we're taken young,
A few brief stanzas may be well employed
Once more; speak clearly, if you speak at all;
Carve every word before you let it fall;
Don't, like a lecturer or dramatic star,
Try over hard to roll the British R;
Do put your accents in the proper spot;
Don't,—let me beg you,—don't say "How?" for "What?"
And when you stick on conversation's burrs
Don't strew the pathway with those dreadful nrs.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.
THE SONG OF THE CAMP.
"Give us a song!" the soldiers cried,
The outer trenches guarding,
Grew weary of bombarding.
The dark Redan, in silent scoff,
Lay grim and threatening, under; And the tawny mound of the MalakofT
No longer belched its thunder.
There was a pause. A guardsman said:
"We storm the forts to-morrow; Sing while we may, another day
Will bring enough of sorrow."
They lay along the battery's side,
Below the smoking cannon;
And from the banks of Shannon.
They sang of love, and not of fame,
Forgot was Briton's glory:
Voice after voice caught up the song,
Until its tender passion
Their battle-eve confession.
Dear girl, her name he dared not speak,
But as the song grew louder,
Washed off the stains of powder.
Beyond the darkening ocean burned
The bloody sunset's embers,
How English love remembers.
And once again a fire of hell
Rained on the Russian quarters,
And bellowing of the mortars!
And Irish Nora's eyes are dim
For a singer, dumb and gory;
Who sang of "Annie Laurie."
Sleep, soldiers! still in honored rest
Your truth and valor wearing:
The loving are the daring.