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The silent room,
From its dim corners, mockingly gave back
His rattling breath; the humming in the fire
Had the distinctness of a knell; and when
Duly the antique horologe? beat one,
He drew a vial from beneath his head,
And drank. And instantly his lips compressed,
And, with a shudder in his skeleton frame,
He rose with supernatural strength, and sat
Upright, and communed with himself: -

I did not think to die
Till I had finished what I had to do;
I thought to pierce the eternal secret through

With this my mortal eye;
I felt, O God! It seemeth even now
This cannot be the death-dew on my brow!

4.

5.

And yet it is. — I feel,
Of this dull sickness at my heart, afraid;
And in my eyes the death-sparks flash and fade

And something seems to steal
Over my bosom like a frozen hand,
Binding its pulses with an icy band.

And this is death! But why
Feel I this wild recoil 3? It cannot be
The immortal spirit shuddereth to be free:

Would it not leap to fly
Like a chained eaglet at its parent's call ?
I fear - I fear – that this poor life is all!

7.

Yet thus to pass away!~
To live but for a hope that mocks at last, --
To agonize“, to strive, to watch, to fast

To waste the light of day,

8.

Night's better beauty, feeling, fancy, thought,
All that we have and are — for this — for naught1

Grant me another year,
God of my spirit! — but a day, - to win
Something to satisfy this thirst within !

I would know something here!
Break for me but one seal that is unbroken!
Speak for me but one word that is unspoken!

9. Vain — vain !- my brain is turning

With a swift dizziness, and my heart grows sick,
And these hot temple-throbs come fast and thick,

And I am freezing — burning-
Dying! O God! if I might only live!

My vial — Ha! it thrills me!- I revive. 10. O, but for time to track

The upper stars into the pathless sky,
To see the invisible spirits, eye to eye,

To hurl the lightning back, —
To tread unhurt the sea's dim-lighted halls, -

To chase day's chariot to the horizon-walls, 11. And more, much more, — for now

The life-sealed fountains of my nature move
To nurse and purify this human love;

To clear the godlike brow .
Of weakness and mistrust, and bow it down
Worthy and beautiful, to the much-loved one.

This were indeed to feel
The soul-thirst slaken at the living stream, -
To live-O God! that life is but a dream !

And death - Aha! I reel —
Dim-dim— I faint - darkness comes o'er my eye;. .
Cover me! save me! God of heaven! I die!

13. 'Twas morning, and the old man lay alone.

No friend had closed his eyelids, and his lips,
Open and ashy pale, the expression wore
Of his death-struggle. His long, silvery hair
Lay on his hollow temples thin and wild,
His frame was wasted, and his features wan
And haggard as with want, and in his palm
His nails were driven deep, as if the throe"
Of the last agony had wrung him sore.

14. The fire beneath the crucible was out;

The vessels of his mystic 6 art lay round,
Useless and cold as the ambitious hand
That fashioned them, and the small rod,
Familiar to his touch for threescore years,
Lay on the alembic's' rim, as if it still
Might vex the elements at its master's will.

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15. And thus had passed from its unequal frame

A soul of fire, — a sun-bent eagle stricken
From his high soaring down, — an instrument
Broken with its own compass. O, how poor
Seems the rich gift of genius, when it lies,
Like the adventurous bird that hath outflown
His strength upon the sea, ambition wrecked,
A thing the thrush might pity, as she sits
Brooding in quiet on her lowly nest.

1 CRO'C!-BLE. A melting-pot used by 4 XG'Q-NĪZE. Feel agony ; suffer exchemists and goldsmiths.

treme pain. 2 HÖR'Q-LOGE. Something which 5 THROE. Extreme pain ; pang.

tells what hour it is ; a time-piece. 6 Mỹs'tỊC. Secret ; unrevealed. 3 RE-CÖIl'. Motion backwards ; re- 1 A-LĚM'BỊC. A chemical vessel, used

bound; a shrinking or faltering. I in distillation.

29

CI. -SPEECH ON THE REFORM BILL.

BROUGHAM.

(Henry Brougham, Lord Brougham, was born in Edinburgh in 1778, and diod in 1868. He was eminent as a statesman, orator, lawyer, and man of letters. He was Lord Chancellor of England from 1830 to 1834. The following extract is from a speech delivered by him in favor of the reform bill, in the House of Lords, in October, 1831.]

1. My Lords: I do not disguise the intense solicitude which I feel for the event of this debate, because I know full well that the peace of the country is involved in the issue. I cannot look, without dismay, at the rejection of the measure.

2. But grievous as may be the consequences of a temporary defeat, — for temporary it can only be, — its ultimate and even speedy success is certain. Nothing can now stop it. Do not suffer yourselves to be persuaded, that even if the present ministers' were driven from the helm, any one could steer you through the troubles which surround you, without reform. But our successors would take up the task in circumstances far less auspicious ?. Under them you would be fain to grant a bill, compared with which, the one we now proffer you is moderate indeed.

3. Hear the parable of the Sibyl,* for it conveys a wise and wholesome moral. She now appears at your gate, and offers you mildly the volumes, the precious volumes, of wisdom and peace. The price she asks is reasonable – to restore the franchise", which, without any bargain, you ought voluntarily to give. You refuse her terms, her mod. erate terms: she darkens the porch no longer.

* The Sibyls were prophetic women of Greece and Rome. The most celebrated one of them offered for sale to Tarquin, an early king of Rome, nine books of prophecies. When the king, on account of the high price, refused to buy them, the Sibyl threw three into the fire, and on a second refusal, three more, after which the king, alarmed, paid for the three remaining the price asked for the whole,

4. But soon- for you cannot do without her wares - you call her back. Again she comes, but with diminished treasures. The leaves of the book are in part torn away by lawless hands, in part defaced with characters of blood. But the prophetic maid has risen in her demands. It is parliaments by the year — it is vote by the ballot - it is suffrage * by the million !

5. From this you turn away indignant, and for the seco ond time she departs. Beware of her third coming: for the treasure you must have; and what price she may next demand, who shall tell? It may even be the mace which rests upon that woolsack.

6. What may follow your course of obstinacy, if persisted in, I cannot take upon me to predict, nor do I wish to conjecture. But this I know full well, that, as sure as man is mortal, and to err is human, justice deferred enhances the price at which you must purchase safety and peace; nor can you expect to gather in another crop than they did who went before you, if you persevere in their utterly abominable husbandry, of sowing injustice and reaping rebellion.

7. But among the awful considerations that now bow down my mind, there is one which stands preëminent above the rest. You are the highest judicature’ in the realm ; you sit here as judges, and decide all causes, civil and criminal, without appeal. It is a judge's first duty never to pronounce sentence, in the most trifling case, without hearing. Will you make this the exception ?

8. Are you really prepared to determine, but not to hear, the mighty case upon which a nation's hopes and fears hang? You are. Then beware of your decision !

9. Rouse not, I beseech you, a peace-loving, but a resolute people; alienate® not from your body the affections of a whole empire. As your friend, as the friend of my order, as the friend of my country, as the faithful servant

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