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The earth was still, but knew not why;

The world was listening, unawares.
How calm a moment may precede

One that shall thrill the world forever
To that still moment, none would heed,
Man's doom was linked no more to sever,

In the solemn midnight,

Centuries ago!

It is the calm and solemn night!

A thousand bells ring out, and throw Their joyous peals abroad, and smite

The darkness, charmed and holy now!
The night that erst no name had worn,

To it a happy name is given;
For in that stable lay, new-born,
The peaceful Prince of earth and heaven,

In the solemn midnight,
Centuries ago!

ALFRED DOMETT.

The Evy Green.

O, A DAINTY plant is the ivy green,

That creepeth o'er ruins old I
Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,

In his cell so lone and cold.
The walls must be crumbled, the stones decayed,

To pleasure his dainty whim;
And the mouldering dust that years have made
Is a merry meal for him.

Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the ivy green.

Fast he stealeth on, though he wears no wings,

And a stanch old heart has hel

How closely he twineth, how tight he clings

To his friend, the huge oak-tree !
And slyly he traileth along the ground,

And his leaves he gently waves,
And he joyously twines and hugs around
The rich mould of dead men's graves.

Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the ivy green.

Whole ages have fled, and their works decayed,

And nations have scattered been; But the stout old ivy shall never fade

From its hale and hearty green.
The brave old plant in its lonely days

Shall fatten upon the past;
For the stateliest building man can raise
Is the ivy's food at last.

Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the ivy green.

CHARLES DICKENS

The Polish Boy.

WHENCE come those shrieks so wild and shrill,

That cut, like blades of steel, the air, Causing the creeping blood to chill

With the sharp cadence of despair ?

Again they come, as if a heart

Were cleft in twain by one quick blow, And every string had voice apart

To utter its peculiar woe.

Whence come they? From yon temple, where
An altar, raised for private prayer,
Now forms the warrior's marble bed
Who Warsaw's gallant armies led.

The dim funereal tapers throw
A holy lustre o'er his brow,
And burnish with their rays of light
The mass of curls that gather bright
Above the haughty brow and eye
Of a young boy that 's kneeling by.

What hand is that, whose icy press

Clings to the dead with death's own grasp, But meets no answering caress ?

No thrilling fingers seek its clasp. It is the hand of her whose cry

Rang wildly, late, upon the air, When the dead warrior met her eye

Outstretched upon the altar there.

With pallid lip and stony brow
She murmurs forth her anguish now.
But hark! the tramp of heavy feet
Is heard along the bloody street;
Nearer and nearer yet they come,
With clanking arms and noiseless drum.
Now whispered curses, low and deep,
Around the holy temple creep;
The gate is burst; a ruffian band
Rush in, and savagely demand,
With brutal voice and oath profane,
The startled boy for exile's chain.

The mother sprang with gesture wild,
And to her bosom clasped her child;
Then, with pale cheek and flashing eye,
Shouted with fearful energy,
Back, ruffians, back! nor dare to tread
Too near the body of my dead;
Nor touch the living boy; I stand
Between him and your lawless band.

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me, and bind these arms, these hands, With Russia's heaviest iron bands, And drag me to Siberia's wild To perish, if 't will save my child !”

“Peace, woman, peace!" the leader cried,

Tearing the pale boy from her side,
And in his ruffian grasp he bore

His victim to the temple door. “One moment!” shrieked the mother; "one!

Will land or gold redeem my son ?
Take heritage, take name, take all,
But leave him free from Russia's thrall !
Take these!” and her white arms and hands
She stripped of rings and diamond bands,
And tore from braids of long black hair
The gems that gleamed like starlight there;
Her cross of blazing rubies, last,
Down at the Russian's feet she cast.
He stooped to seize the glittering store;-
Up springing from the marble floor,
The mother, with a cry of joy,
Snatched to her leaping heart the boy.
But no! The Russian's iron grasp
Again undid the mother's clasp.
Forward she fell, with one long cry
Of more than mortal agony.

But the brave child is roused at length,

And, breaking from the Russian's hold, He stands, a giant in the strength

Of his young spirit, fierce and bold.
Proudly he towers; his flashing eye,

So blue, and yet so bright,
Seems kindled from the eternal sky,

So brilliant is its light.
His curling lips and crimson cheeks
Foretell the thought before he speaks ;

With a full voice of proud command He turned upon the wondering band: “Ye hold me not! nol no, nor can;

This hour has made the boy a man.
I knelt before my slaughtered sire,
Nor felt one throb of vengeful ire.
I wept upon his marble brow,
Yes, wept! I was a child; but now
My noble mother, on her knee,
Hath done the work of years for me!”
He drew aside his broidered vest,
And there, like slumbering serpent's crest,
The jeweled haft of poniard bright
Glittered a moment on the sight.
“Ha! start ye back? Fool! cowardl knave!

Think ye my noble father's glaive
Would drink the life-blood of a slave ?
The pearls that on the handle flame,
Would blush to rubies in their shame;
The blade would quiver in thy breast
Ashamed of such ignoble rest.
No! thus I rend the tyrant's chain,
And fling him back a boy's disdain !”

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A moment, and the funeral light
Flashed on the jeweled weapon bright;
Another, and his young heart's blood
Leaped to the floor, a crimson flood.
Quick to his mother's side he sprang,
And on the air his clear voice rang:
"Up, mother, up! I'm free! I'm free!
The choice was death or slavery.
Up, mother, up! Look on thy son!
His freedom is forever won;
And now he waits one holy kiss
To bear his father home in bliss,
One last embrace, one blessing,—one!
To prove thou know'st, approv'st thy son.

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